Wizards

Report: Beal, LaVine are ‘hot names’ ahead of NBA Draft

Wizards

Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard told reporters in a pre-NBA Draft conference call Tuesday that “Bradley Beal isn’t going anywhere.” But as much as he might have tried to throw a cog in the rumor mill, the wheel just keeps on turning.

Yahoo Sports reporter Vincent Goodwill tweeted Wednesday that Beal and Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine “have been hot names around the league.” Though the Philadelphia 76ers are among the teams to inquire about the two guards, neither the Wizards nor the Bulls have pushed talks beyond preliminary overtures.

Sheppard has maintained that the Wizards are attempting to build around Beal after he posted career highs with 30.5 points per game and 6.1 assists per game last season. Washington finished the 2020-21 season with a .347 winning percentage, its lowest since 2012-13 when the Wizards landed the No. 3 overall pick and drafted Otto Porter Jr. out of Georgetown.

This time, the Wizards have the No. 9 pick for the second-straight year. They saw positive signs from 2019 first-round selection Rui Hachimura, but neither he nor any of the players projected to be available to Washington at No. 9 are expected to be immediate star contributors. Nonetheless, the Wizards appear to be working toward securing a playoff spot behind Beal and a healthy John Wall.

The news comes on the heels of The Athletic’s Shams Charania reporting Tuesday night that the Wizards have discussed trading Wall to the Houston Rockets as part of a deal for former MVP Russell Westbrook. However, there had been no traction toward a trade as of Charania’s report.