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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Basketball

Report: Wizards do not intend to trade Bradley Beal, expect him to re-sign

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal has heard his name come up in trade rumors numerous times over the past year, but that does not mean the Washington Wizards have any intention of parting ways with the star guard.

The chances of the Washington Wizards trading Beal this offseason are “slim at best,” according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Beal has said publicly on several occasions that he wants to remain with the Wizards, and they are operating as if he will re-sign with them after his current deal expires following next season.

A report earlier this month claimed the Brooklyn Nets want to trade for Bradley Beal this summer and are exploring ways to make that happen. The Wizards are just 24-40 this year and Beal is owed $29 million next season, so some think Washington could be persuaded to deal the 26-year-old. However, that does not appear to be the case.

Beal told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan on Friday that he views the trade talk surrounding him as “a sign of respect.” He also reiterated that he loves playing in Washington, D.C., but admitted he thinks about what it would be like elsewhere when the trade speculation resurfaces.

“I love it here, and it would feel great to know I could grind out winning here instead of jumping to another team. … But I’d be naive to say that I don’t think about it when these stories come up,” Beal said.

Beal, 26, has elevated his game since John Wall suffered a torn Achilles last year. Beal is averaging a career-high 30.5 points per game this season, and he clearly is not getting the recognition he deserves. He made it known that he was upset over not being selected for the All-Star Game, so it would not be a shock if he ends up wanting to be traded. At the moment, however, all signs point to him being back with the Wizards next year and potentially beyond.

Daniel Rodriguez seemed to dedicate UFC win to Kobe Bryant

UFC

Daniel Rodriguez won his UFC fight on Saturday night and then appeared to dedicate his win to Kobe Bryant.

The 33-year-old fighter beat Gabriel Green via unanimous decision in their welterweight fight at UFC on ESPN: Woodley vs. Burns at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. At the end of his fight, Rodriguez seemed to say “for Kobe.”

Rodriguez is from Los Angeles, which could explain his support of the late former Laker.

Rodriguez is now 12-1 in his pro MMA career.

Jaylen Brown drives 15 hours to participate in Atlanta protests

Jaylen Brown

Boston Celtics emerging star Jaylen Brown took part in the protests in Atlanta on Saturday.

Brown, who is from Marietta, Georgia, felt it was important for him to join his community and participate peacefully in a protest. He said he wanted to bring attention to injustices, like the death of George Floyd.

Brown said that being famous did not preclude him from joining and showing that he is feeling what others are feeling.

Here was his message on Instagram Live:

The 23-year-old is in his fourth season with the Celtics. He was having the best season of his career prior to the league’s season being suspended and was averaging 20.4 points per game, earning the big contract extension he signed last year.

Another athlete, an Ohio State basketball player, was actually detained while participating in Columbus protests.

Report: Al Horford likely to come off bench for Sixers when season resumes

Al Horford

The Philadelphia 76ers gave Al Horford a $109 million deal last summer, but they may finally be cutting their losses and moving him to the bench for good.

Mike O’Connor of The Athletic reported on Saturday that the Sixers are likely to start Shake Milton instead of Horford when the season resumes. The two had been starting together before play was suspended, but Ben Simmons’ expected return from injury will force Philadelphia to bench one of them.

Milton, a 23-year-old swingman, had been coming into his own lately and was averaging 19.4 points per game in the month of March. He also helps with spacing, as he is a career 41.3 percent shooter from deep.

Horford, meanwhile, has underperformed since arriving in Philly, though he had started 57 of his 60 games for the team this season. The Sixers had been experimenting with him and Joel Embiid in the frontcourt, a flawed pairing which was pulling Horford further away from the basket on offense and also forcing him to defend in space more often.

The five-time All-Star was brought in partly to help the Sixers match up better against one particular East rival. But with a large-enough sample size to work with and the possibility of a revised playoff format eliminating conferences altogether, it seems that the team has now come to their better senses.

Report: Patrick Ewing turned down coaching interest from Knicks in 2018

Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing was the face of the New York Knicks in the 1990s, but he was apparently not interested in a reunion when the opportunity presented itself.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Saturday that the legendary Knicks star was contacted by former team president Steve Mills during the Knicks’ last coaching search in 2018. Ewing, who had just finished his first season coaching his alma mater Georgetown, was not ready to leave though and ultimately did not get interviewed by the Knicks. The job instead went to David Fizdale, who lasted less than one-and-a-half seasons.

Berman does add however that he believes Ewing could one day coach the Knicks, quoting an NBA source as saying that a Hoyas run to the Sweet 16 would be invaluable to his chances of landing an NBA head-coaching job.

Ewing, who played 15 seasons for the Knicks, had long been interested in becoming an NBA head coach before taking the Georgetown job. While a return to his beloved franchise would be a tremendous story, one past experience may have soured him on the Knicks.

JR Smith spotted bike riding with LeBron James and Anthony Davis

JR Smith Indians

What’s J.R. Smith up to these days? It turns out he’s still hanging out with LeBron James.

Smith, James, and Anthony Davis were spotted riding bikes together in Los Angeles on Saturday in a video taken by a passerby.

Former Laker Jordan Clarkson and James’ agent Rich Paul were also part of the big day out.

Smith is a free agent right now, but is still close with James. He’s apparently getting to know Davis as well, which is probably going to spark some rumors going forward.

We don’t really know if NBA teams will be allowed to add more players if and when the season resumes. That said, last we heard, the Lakers were taking a look at Smith, so maybe this is a preview of something.

Report: Knicks head coach job is Tom Thibodeau’s to lose

The coach most frequently linked to the New York Knicks may be an even stronger favorite than previously thought.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the belief within the league is that the Knicks job is Tom Thibodeu’s to lose. Thibodeau is reportedly so confident that he will land the job that he has already begun making preliminary calls to assemble a coaching staff.

Despite this, Thibodeau will not be the only interview the Knicks conduct. The current interim coach, Mike Miller, will have the opportunity to speak to the Knicks about the job. Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is also expected to speak to the Knicks.

We’ve heard for several days now that Thibodeau tops the Knicks’ list of candidates. All indications are that the former Chicago Bulls coach is equally interested. Nothing is ever a formality with the Knicks, but this continues to look more and more likely by the day.