In any sport, players are told one thing from the first day they ever step foot on a field, court or rink – ignore the past and focus on the game. The drama playing out between the NBA and China is a pretty big deal, but not big enough that players need to let it affect their actions. The show must go on and, on the domestic courts, there is definitely a lot happening. As the regular season starts to get underway, things are going to get interesting.
Bradley Beal just signed a deal with the Washington Wizards that will see him hanging around with the team for two more seasons. He could have been a free agent in 2021, but the agreement puts that off the table, instead giving him a $72-million contract and an assurance that the Wizards will hang onto their key shooting guard a little longer.
Andrew Wiggins has more confidence in his worth than what he’s been demonstrating on the courts. For the past two seasons, the small forward with the Minnesota Timberwolves hasn’t been performing at a level that was expected, despite a five-year contract worth almost $148 million, but this doesn’t stop him from saying he’s one of the best in the league.
After ESPN kept him out of the top best 100 stars, he stated, “I don’t really look at that too much, top 100 or not top 100,” Wiggins told ESPN on Thursday. “There’s not 100 players better than me, so it doesn’t matter what people think. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My job is to come out here and hoop, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Iman Shumpert is searching for a new home after finishing with the Houston Rockets last year and apparently now has a couple of possibilities. The guard has said that he has been discussing possible deals with the Chicago Bulls and the Memphis Grizzlies, but there still is nothing finalized. He should be a welcome addition to any squad, unless he’s holding out for way too much money, since he averaged 7.5 points a game last year while shooting 34.8% from beyond the arc.
The Kings are wondering if they made the right decision when it reached an agreement with Harrison Barnes. The power forward/small forward has a four-year, $85-million contract, but the team is apparently showing “some remorse” over the deal. That contract makes it difficult to allocate money to attract other players, and it might come back to haunt the Kings next season. However, despite the rumor that the team was second-guessing its choice, a “league source” later told James Ham of NBC Sports that the Kings are happy to have Barnes on the squad.
The Golden State Warriors needed some room, so they took a look at the roster and found a candidate that could be removed. Alfonzo McKinnie has been given the boot in order to open a spot for Marquese Chriss and the decision wasn’t a tough one. Chriss has been a bright source of talent in preseason games, while McKinnie has dimmed. He averaged just five points in four games and was scoreless when the Warriors took on the LA Lakers, helping the team lose 104-98.
As much as the league’s teams may try to ignore the China debacle, they may not be able to for very long. Looking at the potential loss of a major source of revenue, with some estimates putting the figure at $4 billion, the NBA might have to order a reduction in salary caps soon. As a result, league teams are already negotiating contract extensions with the draft class of 2016 in an effort to ensure that they’re ready for any financial blowback. This is going to be a game-changing year for the NBA and all of its teams.