The 2019 NBA offseason continues, and while most of the big-name players are off the open market, there is still plenty of intrigue surrounding the league.
Some of that intrigue revolves around Washington Wizards forward and two-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal. There has been trade speculation surrounding the 26-year-old since before the start of free agency, and it's not difficult to see why. Beal is a young, ascending star who averaged 25.6 points per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field last season.
"Beal has two years and more than $55 million remaining on his contract, but because of his youth and ever-expanding game, he has attracted great interest from other teams, according to many league insiders," Candace Buckner of the Washington Post wrote earlier this month.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Miami Heat could be one of the teams interested in dealing for Beal:
While Beal has two years remaining on his current deal, he could try forcing himself out of Washington in the way Anthony Davis and Paul George have forced trades from the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively, this summer.
It has largely appeared that Beal's willingness to remain with the Wizards would hinge on the franchise's extension offer. The Florida product is eligible for an extension, and if he isn't offered the maximum, he might not be willing to play nice.
Fortunately for Wizards fans—and unfortunately for teams interested in acquiring Beal—new Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard appears willing to offer the max—a three-year, $111 million extension.
"At the very first moment allowed, we are going to offer Brad the full max extension," Sheppard said, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
If, for some reason, Beal rejects Washington's offer, the Wizards plan on trying other means to retain him for the foreseeable future, according to Wojnarowski:
"The Wizards would also be willing to do a one- or two-year extension, Sheppard said. If Beal passes on the extension, the Wizards have no plans to engage in trade talks with two years, $55.8 million left on his contract, Sheppard said. As the franchise's newly promoted GM, Sheppard intends to sell Beal on a reshaped organization under his leadership."
Barring something unforeseen between now and Friday, Beal will likely be the latest standout player to be officially off the trade market.
Did Kawhi Leonard, Uncle Dennis Violate the CBA?
Speaking of unforeseen developments, who could have imagined the Los Angeles Lakers feeling used by Kawhi Leonard after he dangled himself in free-agent talks before joining the cross-town Clippers?
"I've heard complaints in the days after the signing," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective (h/t Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk). "I heard complaints from the Lakers that they got played. I heard complaints from the Raptors that Kawhi came in and asked for the sun, the moon, the stars then left them at the altar."
OK, so maybe the Lakers' reaction to how things unfolded isn't surprising at all. What could be surprising is how things progress from here. During a recent segment on First Take, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that Leonard's uncle and advisor, Dennis Robertson may have made free-agency requests forbidden by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Here's some of what Smith had to say:
"Allegedly, the uncle, Uncle Dennis, was asking for a lot of stuff from the other teams; houses, planes, sponsorship, guaranteed sponsorship money, just as an example. They're throwing this stuff out there. All of those things are supposedly illegal in the collective bargaining agreement. I have no idea whether this is true or not. I'm not trying to cast any aspersions on Uncle Dennis, but people in NBA circles are talking about this as we speak. Why is that important? Because one could argue the reason why this story is out there right now about the Lakers and the Raptors feeling played wasn't just because of what Uncle Dennis asked for, but they're going to try to turn that around and parlay that into a question about what did the Clippers give up to get Kawhi Leonard."
Smith isn't saying that Leonard or Robinson definitely did anything illegal as it relates to the CBA. However, as he pointed out, teams who missed out on Leonard in free agency—most notably, the Lakers and Toronto Raptors—are going to wonder if they did. They're also likely to ask the league to investigate if the Clippers did anything illegal to cement the deal.
Now, if evidence does come to light that the Clippers, say, guaranteed Leonard an endorsement deal, it wouldn't suddenly undo his contract with L.A. Leonard won't be back on the market. However, evidence of a CBA violation could result in fines or forfeited draft picks on the part of the Clippers
As Smith stated in his segment, we're likely to hear much more on this story in the coming days.