NBA Rumors: Latest on Bradley Beal Trade Talks, JR Smith, More

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC -  NOVEMBER 16: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards looks on during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on November 16, 2018 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
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It was only Monday that news broke saying Bradley Beal might be available in trade talks, and the Washington Wizards' front office is already fielding calls from interested parties.

The Charlotte Hornets was the first team to throw its hat into the ring, the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reported Tuesday.

According to Bonnell's league sources, details of the proposed deal remain unknown, and there is no indication that the Wizards gave the offer for their All-Star guard any serious consideration.

Washington (6-11) had previously been reluctant to trade Beal or John Wall, but the team reportedly softened its stance after both players made profanity-laced comments during practice late last week towards head coach Scott Brooks and team president Ernie Grunfeld.

The fact that the Wizards have underachieved to start the season and fell to 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings is also a factor.

"Ernie has a job, Ted has a job, the organization has a job and they're going to do whatever it takes to make sure that the organization is going in the direction that they need to," Beal told reporters on Monday. "All we can do is continue to work hard every day and continue to put in work until something changes.

"It is what it is. I'm not gonna say I'm mad or frustrated or angry about it. All I can do is control what I can control and that's totally out of my control. I'll allow Ernie and my agent to deal with that. All I do is come in here and work my tail off every day and make sure I try to get better and try to win ball games."

Washington did snap its two-game losing streak with a 125-118 win over the Los Angeles Clippers last night, but all signs still point to dysfunction in the locker room based on comments made by Markieff Morris.

"It's f--ked up what's going on," Morris told The Athletic's Fred Katz. "So I wouldn't say that [the win] makes it nicer. We've just got to figure it out. The comments that's coming from the locker room is f--ked up. It don't happen in other sports. So it's messed up."

While Beal isn't the only player the Wizards have made available in trade discussions, the sharp-shooting guard may be the most sought-after asset on their roster.

Beal's three-point shooting is down to 33.9 percent this season, but he's still a proven offensive threat, averaging 21.5 points and 3.5 assists per game.

There are numerous teams around the league that could use that level of talent, including the Hornets.

Bonnell suggested that they inquired about Beal because he would be a reliable second option to Kemba Walker on offense.

Walker is a point guard, but he has shouldered the lion's share of the scoring for Charlotte this year.

In the last two games, he's been on fire, scoring a franchise record 60 points one night, then 43 points two nights later on a combined 35-for-59 shooting from the floor.

Beal would be an ideal replacement for Jeremy Lamb, the Hornets second-leading scorer at 13.7 points per contest.

But here's the question: what could Charlotte offer Washington in return?

For the Wizards to let go of a player in his prime like Beal, and assuming the Hornets want to keep Walker, they would have to get a combination of promising young talent (Miles Bridges or Malik Monk) and possibly future draft picks.

And to offset the $25 million owed to Beal this season, Charlotte would have to toss in a veteran like Nicolas Batum or Marvin Williams to match the salary cap.

A deal with the Hornets only makes sense if Grunfeld wants to look at a rebuild.

If he wants an even player-for-player swap, he'll have to put Charlotte on hold and take a few more calls.


Cleveland Cavaliers Part Ways with JR Smith

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 27: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Indiana Pacers on October 27, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using th
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The JR Smith era in Cleveland has come to an end.

The 33-year old guard will leave the Cavaliers and engage in his own workouts while the team works on trading him, The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported Tuesday.

Cleveland's front office later released a statement thanking Smith for his time with the organization:

"The Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that JR Smith will no longer be with the team as the organization works with JR and his representation regarding his future. The organization wishes JR and his family well and appreciates and thanks him for his contributions in the community, to the team and his role in the 2016 NBA Championship."

Smith's departure is linked to the pointed comments he made to The Athletic about his belief that the Cavs were tanking.

"I don't think the goal is to win. The goal isn't to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can," he told Jason Lloyd. "I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan."

He went on to say that if the team was in fact tanking, he didn't want to be a part of that.

"Not if the goal isn't to compete, to win," he added.

The article centered around former teammate LeBron James' return to Cleveland when they play host to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

That nostalgia is likely what prompted Smith to be so open with his controversial statements.

James will step into the arena in a new uniform, representing a new exciting life focused on restoring the Lakers to their past glory, while Smith is on a team reeling in James' absence with the worst record in the league at 2-13.

Furthering Smith's frustrations is the franchise's lean towards developing its young talent over playing veterans like him.

His minutes were down, and he was averaging just 6.7 points per game—the lowest of his career.

"It is tough to lose a guy like that, when you have been in the trenches with him and you have been to war with him," Kevin Love said on ESPN's The Jump (h/t Brian Windhorst). "[Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson] know what JR has meant to this team and this city. He was one of the fan favorites, and he was a guy who played both sides of the ball."

According to Windhorst, the chances of the Cavs seeking a buyout with Smith are slim because he has legitimate value on the trade market.

In a potential deal, he can be dealt for the full $15.6 million salary for next season and then released next summer for $3.8 million guaranteed.

There were talks of Smith leaving the team earlier this season when he and general manager Koby Altman bumped heads, but Smith was reluctant to cut ties.

Now, he has no choice in the matter.


Kevin Durant Fined for Cursing Fan

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 17:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors controls the ball against Harrison Barnes #40 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first half at American Airlines Center on November 17, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Kevin Durant is not here for heckling fans.

The Golden State forward was levied a $25,000 fine by the league for telling jeering spectators to "watch the f--king game and shut the f--k up," Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes reported Tuesday.

The incident happened during the first quarter of the Warriors' 112-109 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

According to TMZ Sports, Durant grew irritated at the fans because they were hurling insults and repeatedly called him "cupcake."

The seemingly innocuous moniker refers to an Instagram post made by Russell Westbrook after Durant made the announcement that he was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with Golden State.

Westbrook's image of a cupcake to refer to his outgoing teammate was a reference to Kendrick Perkins and how he used to refer to teammates that were playing soft as cupcakes.

Durant later tried to co-opt the joke by posting a picture of his KD 10 sneaker surrounded by red velvet cupcakes.

The joke must still rub him the wrong way, though, if he's lobbing profanities at fans for making references to it.

It's been a rough week for Durant as the fine comes on the heels of a personal dust-up with Draymond Green.

Green repeatedly called him a "b---h" and challenged his approach to dealing with free agency.

Durant and Green reportedly moved past the confrontation, but the Warriors have suffered as a result, losing three straight games.