It is July and time for a long Weekend to celebrate Independence Day! A lot of stuff has been going on this week, so let’s get this party started like P!nk did in 2001.
The Panda is about to become $128 million richer
Right after the clock struck 12:01 on Friday, July 1, Bradley Beal inked a five-year maximum-level contract deal worth $128 million with the Wizards.
The deal however, will not be made official until Washington has exhausted options other free agent targets because the Wizards can go above the salary cap to sign him.
No word on whether Beal played this pump up song right before he signed his deal, or right after he knew he became richer.
The Wizards are targeting a number of folks in free agency
This is very, very fluid. But here we go.
- The Wizards met Al Horford on Friday. Since Dwight Howard signed a three-year, $70 million deal to go to the Atlanta Hawks, Horford already has one foot out the door. If he does play for the Wizards this summer, I also wonder what this means for Marcin Gortat. Sure, he’s not as good as Horford, but his contract is a steal considering the new bloated salary cap.
- The Wizards are also interested in Luol Deng, Maurice Harkless, and Ian Mahinmi.
- And finally, the Wizards want to get a guy named Giannis. Giannis Bourousis. Sure he’s not Antetokounmpo — but this video must have inspired them to potentially get a guy with the same first name nevertheless.
Who spurned the Wizards besides Kevin Durant?
It is early, but only one player. Nicolas Batum apparently had a phone call with the Wizards but he stayed with Charlotte by signing a five-year maximum contract.
Jared Dudley is going back to Phoenix
With so much money going around — and the failed KD2DC thing — you knew some Wizards free agents were going elsewhere. The first to head out the door was Jared Dudley where he will play for the Phoenix Suns this fall on a three-year, $30 million contract.
The last of our free agent rankings
We finished our free agent targets just in time before frea, so here they are.
- No. 4 - Al Horford
- No. 3 - Nicolas Batum
- No. 2 - Hassan Whiteside
- No. 1 - It’s still Kevin Durant we think.
Mystics go 4-1 in crucial homestand, improve to 9-9
The WNBA wants to talk about The Top-20 players of all-time, Breanna Stewart, the Lynx and Sparks’ hot starts — but they keep overlooking the Mystics or aren’t covering them as much as they really could. Washington has won eight of their last ten games and is as playing as well as anyone right now.
The Mystics lost to the Phoenix Mercury last Friday, but they followed that up with two consecutive blowout wins over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday and the San Antonio Stars on Wednesday. When teams finish a homestand the way the Mystics did, the good ole ball coach will be relaxed.
Postgame reaction following today's 84-67 win over the Stars #MysticsStarshttps://t.co/MjJssyyVKO— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) June 29, 2016
They were below .500 all season due to starting their season on the wrong foot at home by losing their first five games at Verizon Center. However, they are now rolling, even after a 86-84 loss to the Chicago Sky on Friday.
I wasn’t able to get into Keys to the Palace this week so we’ll do a two-fer for next week during the long weekend. But as you might expect, the performance by the team is much better so there should be more keys to go around.
Why are you covering the Mystics?
Jake and I answered many of your questions here.
Wizards sign more players for Summer League play
Our StoryStream for that is here. And by the way, Jake also interviewed Shawn Dawson, one of the players here.
- Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post wrote on John Wall reconnecting with Nitin Ramachandran, who received his wish of being “signed” by the Wizards during the 2014-15 season by the Make-a-Wish foundation after recovering from brain cancer. Ramachandran attended Wall’s camp at Fairfax High School in late June. Great to see him healthy.
- Steinberg also interviewed Wall himself on his recovery from knee surgery, KD2DC, and Beal’s free agency. In regard to the knee surgery, the bone spur in one of his knees was growing for three years. He is also “ahead of schedule.” On KD2DC, he’s over that, and with Beal, I think this should end any perceived tension about only being paid as much as Reggie Jackson the basketball player for the Pistons, not the baseball legend who we know as Mr. October:
Congrats to my lil bro @RealDealBeal23 now everything on u lol...Welcome back !!— John Wall (@JohnWall) July 1, 2016
- That said, Wall did elaborate a bit on what make the Wizards a free agent destination in another column by Steinberg. Wall said that he gets people paid. After seeing what Dudley got for the next three years, I don’t disagree.
- Jace Frederick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a feature on Mystics GM/Head Coach Mike Thibault. In the article, you will learn that he was born and raised in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area until he was in elementary school. He also went in depth about his time as a Director of Scouting for the Chicago Bulls in 1984 when they had the third pick in the draft. Both he and then-General Manager Rod Thorn believed some guy named Michael Jordan was the best player after Hakeem Olajuwon who was first that year. But the ownership didn’t think that way. You kinda know what happened after that. He also talked about how coaching and scouting was a part-time gig for him until he graduated from college.
With NBA Free Agency in full swing, these will not be the only links around. Of course, keep logging onto BF where we’ll keep you informed about signings, and our analysis of them. Enjoy the long weekend everyone!