The Wizards haven’t been able to conjure up a spell to fix their recent struggles, and it appears the Hornets are looking to swarm Washington in pursuit of Bradley Beal.
Charlotte may be looking to give up future draft picks and either Nic Batum or Marvin Williams as a salary filler in an effort to improve its backcourt by pairing another elite scorer with Kemba Walker, according to Spencer Percy of Queen City Hoops,
The Hornets (8-8) have been leaning heavily on Walker, who is leading the NBA in points per game at 29.6. They’re the only team in the NBA with just one player averaging more than 14 points per game.
Earlier this week, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Wizards were willing to trade any player on their roster, including their two All-Stars: Beal and John Wall. Tempers are running high in Washington, and Beal has said he’s getting fed up with a toxic work environment.
“I’ve been dealing with this for seven years,” Beal said during a “volatile practice,” according to NBA insider Shams Charania.
Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: The Washington Wizards had a volatile practice within recent days, with verbal altercations among players and an exasperated Bradley Beal saying toward team officials: “I’ve been dealing with this for seven years.”
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 19, 2018
The Wizards (5-11) sit at 11th in the Eastern Conference. Beal is in the third season of a five-year, $128 million deal, a hefty burden for a Charlotte team that’s been making much more affordable decisions. Walker is playing on a team-friendly four-year, $48 million deal that expires after this season. He’ll be eligible for a five-year, $189 million deal after his current contract expires, and that number will jump to $221 million super-max if he’s named to the All-NBA team.
Both the Hornets organization and Walker have voiced that they would like to remain together, and it’s clear that the star point guard’s current deal is a bargain. With Walker due for a big payday, Charlotte is looking to make every move it can to show it has what it takes to help him win.
Batum is on a five-year $120 million deal he signed in 2016. His strength is being a do-it-all Swiss army knife, but he’s averaging only 9.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He’s not the team’s best player, but most would expect more from the man with the biggest contract on the team. His contract is most comparable to Beal’s but this may not be enough to get Wizards to part ways with Beal. They also may ask for a prospect or prospects like Malik Monk, Miles Bridges or Jeremy Lamb to help build their young core.
The Hornets may have to lose some depth to gain some much-needed firepower, but it may be the best move if they want to not only make the playoffs but get out of the first round, too.
Meantime, other teams will keep a close eye on Beal since his scoring prowess is hard to come by.