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Wizards' Bradley Beal keeping it real about potential supermax deal

Wizards' Bradley Beal keeping it real about potential supermax deal

WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal’s future is up for debate. The All-NBA candidate is playing out both sides publicly.

The Washington Wizards’ leading scorer just completed his seventh and most dominant NBA season. His current contract extends two more years. Beal made it clear he would be down with sticking around far longer.

“If I can, I would 100 percent die in that Wizards jersey,” Beal said during a podcast interview this season with Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.

The shooting guard’s success – and mindset – might prevent the relationship from going the distance.

Beal was selected to a second consecutive All-Star appearance this season, one in which he became the first player in franchise history to average 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. An all-NBA selection might be on deck and with it, the possibility to sign a four-year, $194 million supermax extension this summer.

The staggering amount -- $48.5 million per season – seems like the obvious no brainer scenario. It’s not, Beal claims.

The Wizards’ 2018-19 season went off the rails and quickly. After dropping nine of its first 11 games, Washington finished 32-50, its most losses since the 2012-13 season, Beal’s rookie campaign.

Blame injuries, but even owner Ted Leonsis acknowledged he “didn’t like the way that we were playing” before the games lost number escalated. Leonsis offered that perspective shortly after the team announced the firing of team president Ernie Grunfeld after 16 seasons.

That’s one massive change. More are coming of all sizes. The Wizards are searching for a new general manager. Several members of the current roster enter free agency this summer, meaning the next front office leader could dramatically reshape the playing pieces.

With so many moving parts, Beal claims he won’t rush into any decisions should he become eligible for the supermax deal and the Wizards offer.

“I have to think about it first,” Beal said in the waning days of the season. “Obviously, that’s a lot of money, and I have a lot of money now, so money’s not the problem or the question. “I wanna be able to know that we’re going in the right direction in the future,” Beal said.

Beal signed a five-year, $127.1 million max contract in 2016 after completing his four-year, $18.6 rookie deal. Those numbers make ATM visits joyous occasions. It also offers options and helps with patience should the Wizards extend a supermax offer.

John Wall, the Wizards’ other All-Star guard, could miss the majority if not all of the 2019-20 season after undergoing surgery for a ruptured Achilles in February. Whether Wall returns next season or not, his four-year, $170 million supermax contract kicks in. Beal signing his supermax improves his financial world but it ensures the Wizards become salary cap-strapped once the deals overlap. That eventual reality would limit long-term planning earlier.

Will the new GM offer a creative roster-building solution? Does Wall return at his All-Star form or a rung or two below? What are the other changes and how do they mesh with the playing timeline for Beal as he turns 26 in June?

“Obviously, this is where I wanna be. Everybody knows that. Ted knows that. … And everybody in this organization knows it,” Beal said. “Obviously, if the situation comes, that’s a blessing in itself, but it’s not just an easy answer to make. Everybody will probably be like, ‘Yo! You’d be out of your mind!’ But when you’re thinking about your future and your career and the legacy that you wanna live, you wanna be a winner at the end of the day and do whatever it takes to do that.”

None of this means Beal, selected by the Wizards third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, would bolt.

“It’s beyond just what I know. I love this city. I embrace being here. I love the team. I love being able to be the face of an organization, alongside with John too,” Beal said. “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I hear that from other guys, too, and we see it all the time in the league.”

The decision, should the All-NBA nod occur, isn’t one-sided. The Wizards must offer the deal. Unless Tommy Sheppard, serving as the interim general manager, gets the gig, the new GM won’t have any emotional attachment to Beal. Choices become more black and white especially with all those greenbacks in play, and Beal’s trade value red-hot.

“[The] new GM could probably have a totally different agenda on his hands,” said Beal, who will be a sounding board for Leonsis this off-season. “But at the same time, I’m gonna keep the same mindset. This is where I wanna be, regardless of who comes in. If it’s offered to me, I’ll sit down with my family and my agent and try to figure it out.”

Despite the frustrating season, Beal kept his competitive spirit throughout. “He's always stayed the same leader that he was at the beginning of the year,” rookie Troy Brown Jr. said. “He's never changed. He's always been positive.”

Those positive vibes helped the Wizards find some steadier footing as the season progressed while Beal advanced his All-NBA candidacy. The organization’s future, even if ultimately bright, is uncertain for now. Speculation involving Beal wanting out when his current deal expires existed during the season. Maybe such thoughts, if accurate, fade with $194 million – unless money alone doesn’t equal happiness or the Wizards don’t make the supermax offer.

“It’s a chess game,” Beal said. “It’s just being smart with every move I make and trusting my gut and listening to my family and what they wanna do as well. And when the time comes, I’ll cross that bridge.”


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Adam Silver: NBA not likely to make any decisions before May

Adam Silver: NBA not likely to make any decisions before May

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is bracing for several more weeks of uncertainty about the remainder of this halted season, revealing Monday night that he does not expect the league will be able to decide anything until at least May.

Silver spoke on the NBA's Twitter account as part of the league's new NBATogether initiative, in a conversation hosted by Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson. Silver touched on many topics, including how the league is looking at numerous scenarios for a return, but in every case the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic makes it impossible right now to move too far forward.

"Essentially, what I've told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said. "And I don't think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be."

The NBA was the first of the major U.S. pro leagues to shut down because of the COVID-19 threat, doing so after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the virus. The league's regular season was to end April 15, and the playoffs were to begin April 18.

That isn't going to happen, and that has been known for some time. The NBA wants this season to resume, but simply cannot say with any certainty if it will or will not happen.

"We miss it badly," Silver said. "To all the families watching this, I know the NBA is a big part of their lives. We just want to assure everybody that while we're putting the health and safety of everyone first, we're looking at every possibility to get our players back on the floor and to play NBA basketball again."

Among the decisions that have yet to be made, Silver said: whether the regular season will resume in some form or if the NBA would go immediately into the playoffs - assuming the league can salvage this season at all.

Also on the drawing board: if games would be played in NBA arenas or practice facilities, how televising games would work and if the league would take everybody to one site to finish the season. Cities have expressed interest in that option and have reached out to the NBA to say as much, Silver said.

"We're in listening mode right now," he said.

The news likely wasn't unexpected, but it still hit All-Star center Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat hard when told that no decision on the fate of the season is expected anytime soon.

"It's a whole spectrum of the unknown," Adebayo told The Associated Press after Silver spoke. "But at the end of the day, it's about safety, it's about our families and it's bigger than us. It's a global thing and we've all got to take it even more seriously."

Silver also discussed Saturday's 45-minute conference call that he and other major U.S. sports leaders had with President Donald Trump. The president said he had been watching some replays of past major sports events, then asked the commissioners and others for their thoughts.

"It wasn't just a pep talk, but I think it was a reminder of what the meaning is of sports to Americans, to our culture in particular," Silver said. "What came back from all the leagues collectively was once we get the all-clear, however that's determined, of course with public health officials and by our government ... we're going to be ready to go. But first and foremost is the health and safety of everyone involved."

It has been, by far and for obvious reasons, the most personally trying season of Silver's tenure as commissioner. The NBA got into a major and costly rift with China in October after Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong around the same time as the league was making its annual visit to that basketball-wild nation for two preseason games that became incredibly awkward. Commissioner Emeritus David Stern, Silver's predecessor and mentor, died Jan. 1. Kobe Bryant, who was announced as a Hall of Fame inductee on Saturday, died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven others.

Silver spoke in mid-February about how he had concerns about the coronavirus threat. By mid-March, it had shut down his league and now, in many ways, much of the world is shuttered. As he said in an interview with AP late last month, Silver said he feels a responsibility for 55,000 people who generate at least some of their income by working in the NBA or at NBA games.

"That's what's keeping me up at night," Silver said.

There is also some very personal worry for Silver right now: His wife is expecting their second daughter, due to arrive in mid-May.

"There's a bit of additional anxiety in terms of going into a New York City hospital in the middle of all this," Silver said.

New York has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, and its healthcare system has been tested perhaps like never before by the demands of the pandemic.

"I think we're going to see a new approach to a lot of these problems," Silver said. "And maybe we were a little bit behind. This is a cruel wake-up call in many ways, given that we're talking about an enormous number of human lives, but we will come out of this better."


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Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum partner to donate $250K for coronavirus relief in their hometown

Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum partner to donate $250K for coronavirus relief in their hometown

As the world reels from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Wizards' own Bradley Beal have stepped up to help.

In an Instagram post Monday, Tatum announced that he, through The Jayson Tatum Foundation and in conjunction with Lineage Logistics, will match $250,000 in donations in the Boston area to provide meals to those in need through Feeding American and an area food bank. Additionally, he'll partner with Beal to match $250,000 in donations in the St. Louis area, where they both hail from, for the same purpose.

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As this virus continues to spread, the future has never felt so unpredictable.  And while I sincerely pray that everyone is staying safe, healthy and social distancing, the reality is this virus has negatively impacted our families, loved ones and communities in so many ways.  Because of the hardships created through this national health crisis and in an effort to help those in need in the Boston and St. Louis area, I am, through The Jayson Tatum Foundation, partnering with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics on their “Share A Meal” campaign.  Together, @lineagelogistics and The Jayson Tatum Foundation are pledging to match $250,000 in the Boston area and, with my good friend and fellow basketball player Bradley Beal, $250,000 in the St. Louis area, to help provide meals through @feedingamerica, @stlfoodbank and @gr8bosfoodbank.  This campaign will help some of the hardest hit communities in Boston and in Brad and my hometown of St. Louis, receive meals.  If you are able to help, I am asking my family, friends,  fans and partners to follow the link in my bio to help make a difference in our communities during a very difficult time. I would especially like to thank all the frontline workers and volunteers who are working around the clock to keep all of us safe and healthy. Together…. we will make a difference. #NBATogether #ActsOfCaring

A post shared by Jayson Tatum🙏🏀 (@jaytatum0) on

"This campaign will help some of the hardest hit communities in Boston and in Brad and my hometown of St. Louis, receive meals," Tatum wrote in the Instagram post.

To donate, fans can follow the link in Tatum's bio to contribute to the St. Louis Area Food Bank and the Greater Boston Food Bank.


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