- The Wizards are guardedly optimistic about their season heading into the All-Star break, as Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports. “We’re in a good spot,” Washington star Bradley Beal said. “I wish we could have had a few more before the break. I think we lost two that I felt we could’ve won, but for the most part we’re in a good position.”
If the Sixers make Joel Embiid available this offseason, the Wizards would be among the best-positioned teams to trade for the big man, as I explain on Heavy.com. If Philadelphia is looking for the best NBA player available to them—one whose shooting would fit in next to Ben Simmons—the franchise should look no further than Bradley Beal.
Like the Simmons-Embiid pairing, the John Wall-Beal duo isn’t without its warts. Wall, who has three years and over $132M left on his contract after this season, isn’t likely to be dealt due to the size of his deal. As great as Beal has been for the franchise this year (he should have been an All-Star), netting a talent like Embiid would be a good deal for the Wizards.
Here’s more from Washington:
- Former teammate Tomas Satoransky, who inked a three-year, $30MM deal with Chicago during the offseason, has guarded Beal on various occasions this season. He said it is “not the nicest experience,” as he tells Hoops Rumors. “He is just so athletic with it and he elevates when he shoots so high, so all you can do is contest it as best as you can and hope that he is going to miss,” Satoransky said.
- Coach Scott Brooks would rather the Wizards make the playoffs than land in the lottery and have a chance at a better prospect in the draft, as he tells Chase Hughes of NBC Sports relays. “Developing is creating winning habits,” he said. “Definitely winning is important. You don’t want to just keep developing and not have anything to show for it. We all want to win and that’s the mentality that we have to have… The small details, they’re important. You don’t just start picking up the small details once you have a good team.”
- Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner each missed significant time this year with various injuries, but both have bounced back nicely, Hughes writes in a separate piece. Hachimura missed 23 games with a groin injury and Wagner sat out 25 games with a left ankle sprain.
Justise Winslow is thrilled about his new start in Memphis, but in an interview with Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel he offered little insight into an injury that has forced him to miss all but 11 games this season. Winslow has taken the court just once since December 6 because of a lower back bone bruise. “The (Miami) coaching staff thought I was able to play,” Winslow said without further explanation.
After being taken with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, Winslow developed into a versatile forward for the Heat and often handled play-making duties. However, the lingering injury and the development of young talent in Miami made him expandable in last week’s trade for Andre Iguodala.
“I’m not going to give any dates (for a possible return), I’m sorry,” Winslow said. “But it’s been an ongoing thing this season. That’s the bottom line. I’m sure the Miami Heat did everything that they thought was right to try to help me. Things didn’t work out. I’m here now. I wish I could tell you a date that I’m expected to be back, but there isn’t one.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Jimmy Butler has finally found a team that views the NBA the same way he does, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Butler clashed with teammates, coaches and management in his previous three stops, but his ultra-competitive attitude is welcome with the Heat. “When [Butler] was in other places, he got knocked for (speaking his mind),” Iguodala said. “He was disruptive toward his other teammates, but you put him around some guys that actually want to get to the grind, what did he do for them? He upped their level of play, right?”
- Jerome Robinson sees the Wizards as an ideal fit and is ready for the opportunity he never got with the Clippers, relays Chase Hughes of NBA Sports. Robinson was a lottery pick in 2019, but often languished on the bench as L.A. focused on challenging for a title. He’s hoping for more playing time in Washington after being traded there last week. “Experience, that’s what you really learn from,” Robinson said. “To grow as a player and a person, I think this is a great step for me right here.”
- Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer believes the Hornets should pounce on the opportunity if Sixers center Joel Embiid ever goes on the trade market.
The Knicks have had a miserable 12 months, finishing the 2018/19 season with a league-worst 17 wins, missing out on their top free agent targets, and then firing head coach David Fizdale and president of basketball operations Steve Mills during the 2019/20 season.
None of that seems to have had a noticeable impact on the team’s market value though. Once again, the franchise is considered the most valuable of any of the NBA’s 30 clubs, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Lakers and Warriors aren’t far behind, having both surpassed the $4 billion mark for the first time this year.
For the first time, all 30 NBA teams have a perceived worth of $1.3 billion or more, per Forbes’ annual report. Every team’s value increased by at least 6% since Forbes put out their 2019 valuations last February, with a handful of franchises jumping by 20% or more.
The NBA-wide average of $2.12 billion per team in 2020 is also a new record — that league-wide average surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time. NBA franchise values are up almost sixfold over the last decade, according to Badenhausen.
Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:
- New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
- Los Angeles Lakers: $4.4 billion
- Golden State Warriors: $4.3 billion
- Chicago Bulls: $3.2 billion
- Boston Celtics: $3.1 billion
- Los Angeles Clippers: $2.6 billion
- Brooklyn Nets: $2.5 billion
- Houston Rockets: $2.475 billion
- Dallas Mavericks: $2.4 billion
- Toronto Raptors: $2.1 billion
- Philadelphia 76ers: $2 billion
- Miami Heat: $1.95 billion
- Portland Trail Blazers: $1.85 billion
- San Antonio Spurs: $1.8 billion
- Sacramento Kings: $1.775 billion
- Washington Wizards: $1.75 billion
- Phoenix Suns: $1.625 billion
- Denver Nuggets: $1.6 billion
- Milwaukee Bucks: $1.58 billion
- Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.575 billion
- Utah Jazz: $1.55 billion
- Indiana Pacers: $1.525 billion
- Atlanta Hawks: $1.52 billion
- Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.51 billion
- Charlotte Hornets: $1.5 billion
- Detroit Pistons: $1.45 billion
- Orlando Magic: $1.43 billion
- Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.375 billion
- New Orleans Pelicans: $1.35 billion
- Memphis Grizzlies: $1.3 billion
The Raptors are among this year’s big “winners,” with their value rising 25%, from $1.675 billion a year ago to $2.1 billion this year following their first NBA championship. The Clippers also had a noteworthy bump, moving from ninth place on Forbes’ list to sixth after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last summer.
Although every franchise’s value increased, the Nets had the smallest jump, just 6%. The Magic‘s modest 8% increase resulted in the team slipping from 23rd on last year’s list to 27th this year.
It’s worth noting that when a franchise has been sold in recent years, the price often exceeds Forbes’ valuation, so these figures are just estimates.
- All-Star WNBA guard Kristi Toliver, who moonlights as a Wizards assistant coach during her offseason, has decided to move on from the Washington Mystics and sign with the Los Angeles Sparks for the 2020 season. The Wizards expect Toliver to remain in her NBA role for at least the rest of the 2019/20 NBA season, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
- In other Wizards news, general manager Tommy Sheppard praised the work that head coach Scott Brooks has done while developing his team this season, per The Athletic’s Fred Katz. “His staff has done a great job,” Sheppard said. “We talk about Moe Wagner. I’ll throw (Isaac) Bonga in there, too. He does something new every night. (Anzejs Pasecniks) went from Exhibit 10 to now being under contract. That didn’t happen by itself.”
USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.
“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.
“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”
Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.
Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:
- Bam Adebayo (Heat)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
- Harrison Barnes (Kings)
- Bradley Beal (Wizards)
- Devin Booker (Suns)
- Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
- Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
- Jimmy Butler (Heat)
- Mike Conley (Jazz)
- Stephen Curry (Warriors)
- Anthony Davis (Lakers)
- DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
- Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
- Kevin Durant (Nets)
- Paul George (Clippers)
- Draymond Green (Warriors)
- James Harden (Rockets)
- Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
- Joe Harris (Nets)
- Tobias Harris (76ers)
- Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
- Dwight Howard (Lakers)
- Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
- Kyrie Irving (Nets)
- LeBron James (Lakers)
- Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
- Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
- Damian Lillard (Blazers)
- Brook Lopez (Bucks)
- Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
- Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
- JaVale McGee (Lakers)
- Khris Middleton (Bucks)
- Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
- Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
- Chris Paul (Thunder)
- Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
- Marcus Smart (Celtics)
- Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
- Klay Thompson (Warriors)
- Myles Turner (Pacers)
- Kemba Walker (Celtics)
- Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
- Derrick White (Spurs)
Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:
- The Pacers have assigned Goga Bitadze to their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, the team announced. Bitadze was drafted by Indiana with the No. 18 pick last June.
- The Wizards have recalled center Anzejs Pasecniks, guard Gary Payton II and forward Admiral Schofield from the Capital City Go-Go, the team announced on social media.
- The Thunder have recalled guard Deonte Burton and forward Isaiah Roby from the Oklahoma City Blue, general manager Sam Presti announced.
Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:
- The Wizards assigned Anzejs Pasecniks, Gary Payton II and Admiral Schofield to their Capital City affiliate for tonight’s game. (Twitter link).
- The Thunder assigned Deonte Burton and Isaiah Roby to Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in a press release.
- The Knicks assigned Ignas Brazdeikis to Westchester, according to the G League transactions log.