No Beal, No Way: The unfortunate part of talking about trade rumors is that inevitably someone gets mentioned in passing that creates a stir that was not intended.
Yesterday in this space, we talked about the Washington Wizards having interest in making a trade, but that they have been unable to find a trade they would do. We classified them as “on the fence” regarding a deal at the trade deadline.
In describing the situation, the names of Wizards players mentioned by league sources included Wizards guard Brad Beal, and while the point of the piece was that Washington was unwilling to break up their core to make a significant trade, it seems a lot of people hung on to the idea that Beal was mentioned.
Wizards’ sources were fairly adamant yesterday that Beal is a non-starter for them in trade talks, which lines up exactly with what teams talking with Washington have said. As we covered yesterday, the Wizards are unwilling to break up their core to make a deal and while other teams may covet Beal as part of a deal, the Wizards simply are not going to entertain that. They view him as a key and core part of what they are building and anything involving him is being turned away.
How the trade world works is often one team will call and ask about a specific player’s availability and a counter offer is made. That’s usually where trades die.
The reason the Wizards have not made a trade or are not significantly involved in a trade proposal is that what teams are asking for is more than Washington will do.
»In Related: The Washington Wizards Team Salary Page.
Trades and trade scenarios are always a fluid situation, but one thing that was made abundantly clear is that Beal is not someone the Wizards would entertain talks around, which lines up completely with the points made yesterday.
The Wizards like where they find themselves and are not overly interested in making change. They are not sitting out the trade deadline, but equally they are not one of the teams trying to make something happen in the next 14 days.
If the right kind of transaction surfaces they are open to looking at it, but what they have found is that there is not anything out there they would do, mainly because of their belief in their core..
LeBron On The Move?: Before we dig too far into this, let’s be really clear on something; ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is as good as they come when it comes to LeBron James. He’s literally written the book on Miami’s uber star.
So when a report penned by Windhorst suggests that LeBron James is already considering his options for free agency, there is substance and truth to the idea.
What is likely to happen in Miami this summer is that the vaunted “Big Three” of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all opt-in to their contracts for one more year. That’s been the word around the team for most of the last 12 months.
There has been talk that maybe all three opt-out and sign new long-term deals. There has been speculation that all three could opt-out and try and recruit a fourth star to Miami – which could happen if all three agreed to take something in the neighborhood of $14 million a year like they did in 2010 when they assembled together in South Beach.
»In Related: The Possible NBA Free Agents For 2014-2015.
There are variables that open the door for a James exit, and until those variables are closed the idea of James leaving, as absurd as it may seem at times, is very real.
Wade is hobbled and no one knows how much more basketball he has left or how much of an impact he can really provide. At some point his ailing knees are going to be a real problem.
It’s unlikely that Wade is going to retire or opt-out of his contract unless it’s to get more guaranteed money down the road and that becomes risky business for the HEAT to continue to lock in major contract dollars into Wade’s knees.
Then there is Bosh. There is no doubting that Bosh’s brand has taken the biggest hit since joining the HEAT. Prior to arriving in South Beach, Bosh was one of the elite big men in the game and a cornerstone player in his own right. In Miami he has been something of a role player, although his contributions especially in the postseason have been massively understated and underrated. There has been speculation that Bosh might look at his own situation again next summer especially if the “Big Three” fail to win another championship.
Bosh could find himself as one of the top free agents in July if he opts out and looks for his own team again.
If the HEAT buckle under their own weight or they fail to win another championship, there is a belief that a breakup of the “Heatles” could get serious consideration not by the front office, but by the players themselves.
Windhorst’s report basically paints James as doing his due diligence in case things have to change at some point in the future, suggesting that James won’t just be talking to teams with cap space, understanding that he has the power and the leverage to force a move anywhere if he wanted to.
What still remains the most likely scenario is that they give this one more year beyond this season. Staying together through July of 2015 has been their personal plan from the beginning. The HEAT have made three straight NBA Finals appearances and believe they will make it four this season; unless that goes tragically wrong the odds of a break up this summer are fairly small.
That does not mean all parties involved haven’t pondered what that means for the future, especially because of the personal variables that are out of the their control.
James has been pretty clear that’s he’s really happy in Miami and that he can’t envision himself anywhere else, but if you recall he said the same thing about Cleveland because that’s what you do when you are under contract and competing during the season.
When things turn to the offseason, how the HEAT finish and what his teammates decide to do with their contracts will weigh heavy in what LeBron’s ultimate decision will be.
The one thing that’s being made clear and public is James won’t be surprised by anything, he’ll be ready to make decisions and those decisions won’t be limited just to who has cap space.
Mavs Like Who They Have: The Dallas Mavericks are not exactly taking the Western Conference by storm, but they are continuing to find ways to stay in the mix in the playoff picture. Last night’s win puts them at 29-21 on the season which is good enough for the eighth seed in the West if the playoffs started today. It’s also almost two full games ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies.
As we covered in the space yesterday, the Mavericks, who have historically been one of the more active teams at the trade deadline, seem to be sitting this trade deadline out despite some ending contracts that could return value.
One source close to the Mavericks admitted that adding a big man or another player with scoring punch would be attractive, but that the Mavericks really liked the construction of this team as it stands now, pointing to the fact that the team added nine new players this season and that’s a key reason to be somewhat patient.
The Mavericks are not out of the market completely; virtually no team in the NBA is as the trade deadline approaches in just 14 days.
»In Related: Who Owes A Draft Pick? The Complete NBA Draft Pick Debt.
The Mavs, however, are not nearly as aggressive in trying to shake loose a major deal as maybe a minor one. With the Mavericks apparently looking for a value-type deal for a big man names like 76ers big man Spencer Hawes or Lakers big man Jordan Hill. They could have, but passed on signing Andrew Bynum, who they had preliminary interest in this offseason, after he was waived by the Chicago Bulls.
The Mavs don’t seem like they are eager to do anything, but they are surveying the landscape, which is pretty common at this time of year.
The Mavericks do have some young guys on the roster that might return some value and they do have some ending contracts.
The posture from the Mavericks isn’t overly aggressive, as we covered yesterday, they might sit this one out, but the Mavericks are looking and that’s the first step towards making a deal.
The Mavericks know they need help up front if they want to really challenge in the West, but they do not seem willing to do anything that’s going to massively shake up the chemistry of the team or part with assets that are currently playing a significant role.
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