Bradley Beal refused; Mages commerce Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Monte Morris

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The NBA free agency doesn’t start until Thursday at 6 p.m. KST, but Wednesday isn’t a slow news day for the Washington Wizards.

According to two people with knowledge of the trade, in the team’s first major move of the season, Washington agreed to trade Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith for Denver for points guard Monte Morris and wing veteran Will Barton, according to two people knowledgeable about the transaction. The move won’t become official until July 6, when the league finalizes salary caps and luxury tax amounts for the 2022-23 season.

With this deal, the Wizards tested one of their two top priorities over the summer: finding a reliable solution in a protective position. The second is to re-sign franchise platform Bradley Beal to a long-term contract.

Beal declined his $36.4 million player selection for the 2022-23 season on Wednesday, according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein, and became a free agent for the first time in career. The Guardian can now re-sign with the Wizards a maximum contract of about $250 million over five years, or join another team, either through a free agent or a signing and commercial agreement.

Bradley Beal is banging his wrist and a local basketball court

Staying with the Wizards is financially prudent for Beal, who turned 29 on Tuesday. The biggest contract any other team can offer the defender is about $185 million over 4 years.

If he does come back, he’ll match up with a trusted point guard who’s checked a lot of Washington’s boxes. The Athletic Morris transaction report first.

27-year-old Morris is not the missing piece to complete the hypothetical “Big Three” starring Beal and Kristaps Porzingis. But he possesses three properties that make him a great fit for the Wizards: He’s a capable defender, he’s interested in keeping the team organized and making assists. created rather than scored, and he owed just over $18.9 million over the next two seasons. For a team that could soon be tied to a massive Beal contract and owe Porzingis nearly $70 million over the next two years, that’s a friendly salary.

Morris, Barton and Coach Wes Unseld Jr also have a pre-established relationship from their years together with the Nuggets. When Unseld returns to Denver in December For the first time since taking over the Wizards’ reins, Morris was one of the few players to step out onto Washington’s touchline before the game to say hello to the Nuggets’ former assistant. Morris approached Unseld with a grin and extended his arm before hugging the coach and making him turn for laughter.

Unseld was part of the Denver staff that drafted Morris in 2017 and signed him to a two-way contract that season, dividing his time between the NBA and the G League. He worked his way to a 74-game start last season while Jamal Murray was recovering from an ACL injury – a tough road to victory for the pros that those in Washington’s office hit. expensive. Brass Wizards also noted Morris’s leadership skills.

Drafting attitude and position needs, Wizards beat Johnny Davis in 10th place

The keeper averaged 12.6 points and 4.4 assists last season. And although he’s not considered the first scoring defender, he can get the ball into the box: his 58.3 shot rate is eighth among point guards last season. , on par with Dallas’ Jalen Brunson.

As a bonus, Morris and Washington forward Kyle Kuzma have a relationship that stretches back to school.

Barton, a Baltimore native, is a 31-year-old full-back who can be superbly behind Beal on the depth charts. He averaged 14.7 points over 30 minutes per game last season and shot 43.8% from the pitch and 36.5% from the three-point range.

The members of the magician’s office liked his flexibility. Barton can create scoring opportunities for himself or provide assists for others and come on from the bench or start when necessary.

Washington will still need to find the depth behind Morris at the point of defense because Raul Neto and Tomas Satoransky are both set up to be free agents. The team hosted a pair of potential guests in a three-day mini-game over the weekend in Kris Dunn, fifth pick in the 2016 NBA draft, and Pierria Henry, an American-born keeper turned American. featured in the EuroLeague over the past few years.

Veteran point guard Smith, meanwhile, heading to his 13th teaman NBA record.

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