Bradley Beal delivered his best game with his new team in his first encounter with his old one.

Beal poured in a season-high 43 points to lead the visiting Phoenix Suns to a 140-112 blowout of the Washington Wizards on Sunday in the three-time All-Star's return to the arena he called home for 11 seasons.

The veteran guard was facing the rebuilding Wizards for the first time since being traded by Washington to the Suns in June. Beal missed the Suns' win over the Wizards in Phoenix in December due to a sprained ankle.

Beal was selected by the Wizards with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft and ranks second in franchise history in points and third in games played.

The 30-year-old had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter to help stake Phoenix to an early 42-28 lead, then added 12 more in the second as the Suns opened up a commanding 79-58 advantage at half-time.

Phoenix's lead never got to under 19 points in the second half as it coasted to its 10th win in 13 games. The Suns also received 18 points each from Kevin Durant and Jusuf Nurkic, who added 13 rebounds and eight assists. 

Deni Avdija had 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead Washington, which lost its third straight game to drop to 9-40 on the season.

 

Jazz beat Bucks behind dominant fourth quarter

Lauri Markkanen led a balanced Utah attack with 21 points and the Jazz dominated the fourth quarter to rally for a 123-108 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Utah trailed by 16 points late in the third quarter before outscoring Milwaukee by a whopping 40-13 margin in the fourth to halt a three-game losing streak and drop the Bucks to 1-3 since head coach Doc Rivers took over the team last week.

Playing for the second time in as many nights, Milwaukee ran out of gas in the final period as it missed 13 of 17 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. The Jazz, meanwhile, shot 60 per cent over the final 12 minutes.

Keyonte George had 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and was one of seven Utah players to score in double figures. The rookie added 10 rebounds, while John Collins also posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Down 95-83 after three quarters, the Jazz began the fourth on a 21-7 run to take a 104-102 lead on Markkanen's 3-pointer with 6:26 left. They put the game away soon afterward with an 18-3 flurry that staked Utah to a 122-108 advantage with under two minutes to go. George had eight points during that spurt.

The Bucks lost despite a 33-point, 13-assist effort from Giannis Antetokounmpo and a 27-point performance from Bobby Portis.

 

Clippers stay hot by extending Heat's woes

Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and 11 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away late to hand the still-slumping Miami Heat a 103-95 loss.

James Harden scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 assists as the red-hot Clippers won for the eighth time in nine games. Los Angeles is an NBA-best 25-5 since Dec. 1.

After breaking out of a seven-game losing streak by winning their previous two games, the Heat struggled to an 8-for-30 shooting effort from 3-point range on a night they were without one of their best outside shooters in Tyler Herro, who was scratched due to a headache.

The Clippers, meanwhile, went 16 of 39 (41 per cent) from beyond the arc with Harden leading the way by hitting five of his nine 3-point tries.

Despite its shooting woes, Miami held a 72-71 edge with nine minutes left before the Clippers took control. Los Angeles broke open the game with a 20-6 run, capped by back-to-back Harden 3-pointers, to take a 91-78 lead with five minutes remaining.

The Heat fought back and got to within 99-95 on Jimmy Butler's 3-point play with 13.3 seconds left, but Paul George and Leonard each made two free throws in the closing stages to end any comeback hopes. 

Butler had 21 points and Terry Rozier scored 17 for Miami, which also received 14 points and 13 rebounds from Bam Adebayo.

 

 

Nikola Jokic displayed just why he is such a stellar talent as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Washington Wizards, so says Michael Malone.

Jokic scored a season-high 42 points, adding 12 rebounds and eight assists, as the Nuggets won 113-104 on Sunday.

It marked Jokic's highest points tally since he scored 46 against the New Orleans Pelicans in June 2022.

The Nuggets are now 30-14 for the season and are third in the Western Conference, and coach Malone was effusive in his praise for the 28-year-old.

"Nikola was phenomenal tonight from beginning to end," Malone said.

"He continues to illustrate why he's the player that he is."

Even though the Nuggets were playing on the road, there were chants of "MVP" from the crowd as Jokic sank his final free throws of the game.

"That's unique," Malone said.

"It doesn't happen very often, so I think it's just recognising greatness.

"Here's a guy who was a two-time MVP as a second-round draft pick that brought a franchise its first world championship in history, and he's a Finals MVP as well."

Despite having lost their last four games in a row, Malone believes the Wizards provided a stern challenge to his team.

He said: "That’s what happens when you're the reigning world champs.

"You have to be up for those games because you know you're going to be getting everybody's best."

Jalen Brunson was praised for his "special" ability by New York Knicks teammate Donte DiVincenzo after he had 41 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to help his team get past the Washington Wizards.

New York won 113-107 after Brunson shot 14 of 27 from the field and scored 18 of the Knicks’ 21 points during a long stretch of the fourth quarter, as they extended a one-point lead to 105-97 with 86 seconds to play.

Julius Randle added 21 points, while DiVincenzo and OG Anunoby each had 19 to help the Knicks improve to 8-2 since acquiring Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors.

Jordan Poole scored 24 points for Washington, which has lost eight of nine.

The Wizards looked frustrated after consistently appearing to have blocked Brunson's lane to the basket, only for the guard to spin away from trouble to get a shot up or draw a foul.

Brunson has scored 29 or more points in six of the last seven games he has played.

"That is what great players do to teams. They get you frustrated and they get you upset," DiVincenzo said, per ESPN.

"You do everything you can defensively and they still make a tough shot. But I think Jalen, what makes him special is he makes the right play every time."

Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said: "It is frustrating and to his credit he is a hard one to guard – very shifty."

Brunson ended up scoring 20 points in his impressive fourth quarter.

"You are at the end of the game, you are trying to win, so it is a little different," he said. "But I mean, the approach stays the same. I think I had the same attacking mindset."

The Knicks (25-17) have a 13-5 record at home this season and are back in action when they host the Raptors (16-26) on Saturday. 

Toronto is slumping after losing six of its last eight games, including a 116-110 loss at home to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

Raptors forward Scottie Barnes had 31 points, just one short of his career high, but the Bulls prevailed after Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 14 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points against his former team.

Julius Randle says the New York Knicks won't get carried away after extending their winning streak to four games on Saturday, when his 39-point haul helped them past the Washington Wizards.

Randle finished two points shy of his best return of the season as the Knicks improved to 21-15 for the campaign with a dominant performance at Capital One Arena, earning a 121-105 win.

The Knicks never looked back after bringing up a 26-point lead in the first half, building on their impressive 128-92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers one day earlier.

They are now up to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, but Randle says they are not looking too far ahead and will continue to take things game by game. 

"Don't play with your food," Randle said after Saturday's win. "Take care of what you're supposed to take care of and just keep improving. 

"The basketball gods have got a funny way of rewarding you or humbling you. We just try to approach every game the right way."

Jalen Brunson supported Randle with 33 points and eight assists, and the 27-year-old is enjoying playing with the two-time All-Star.

"Collectively, we both have the same mindset," Brunson said of his team-mate. "As long as we're winning, we can get better the next day and keep going from there.

"It was important to come out with energy, especially on a back-to-back. It's fun whenever you're winning."

Jayson Tatum poured in 38 points with a season-high eight 3-pointers and Jaylen Brown added 31 points to help the Boston Celtics snap the Indiana Pacers’ six-game winning streak, 118-101 on Saturday.

Tatum, who also had 13 rebounds and six assists, combined with Brown for 27 of Boston’s 46 baskets on a night they never trailed.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 20 points and Tyrese Haliburton had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds and five steals. Indiana was held to a season-low point total and lost the rebounding battle, 70-42.

The Pacers were within 84-81 entering the fourth quarter, but the Celtics went up 100-85 on Tatum’s 3-pointer with 7:30 remaining.

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis played only six minutes due to an eye laceration.

Rockets survive Antetokounmpo’s 48 points

Alperen Sengun had 21 points and the Houston Rockets overcame 48 points and 17 rebounds from Giannis Antetokounmpo to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 112-108.

Antetokounmpo shot 16 of 25 from the field for his seventh straight double-double but teammate Damian Lillard shot 5 of 16, including 1 for 8 from long range, and missed a season-high three free throws on 10 attempts.

Jalen Green scored 16 points and Fred VanVleet added 14 with seven assists for Houston, which has won three of four following a three-game skid.  

Randle leads Knicks over Wizards

Julius Randle scored 39 points and Jalen Brunson had 33 as the New York Knicks won their fourth straight game, 121-105 over the Washington Wizards.

Isaiah Hartenstein grabbed 19 rebounds as New York showed no letup following an impressive 128-92 rout of the 76ers a night earlier.

Kyle Kuzma had 27 points and Deni Avdija added 23 for Washington, which has lost four in a row and seven of eight.

Jordan Poole hailed the Golden State Warriors for the "special" reception he received on his return to Chase Center with the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Poole, a member of the Warriors' 2022 Championship-winning team, was back in San Francisco for the first time since being traded in July, scoring 25 points in his team's 129-118 loss.

The 24-year-old was greeted with a pre-game video tribute and received a standing ovation from the fans in attendance, then stayed behind to sign autographs for supporters after the game.

While Poole was unable to guide his new team to victory as Stephen Curry's 30-point haul helped the Warriors improve to 14-14, the fifth-year guard will look back on his return fondly. 

"That was pretty special," he told reporters after sharing an embrace with Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

"It shows my impact that I've had here, which is really cool, especially starting off my career early at the highest level, winning a championship, I played with a lot of Hall of Famers. 

"But I really embraced myself with Dub Nation, submerged myself with them throughout my tenure here. It was pretty special to see that I got the love back."

Asked about the pre-game tribute to Poole, Kerr said: "It was wonderful. The video and ovation Jordan got, to me, was the highlight of the game.

"So well deserved for what he did for our organisation and for our fans and players and coaches, just the work that he put in and obviously becoming a key member of the championship team.

"Jordan deserved that ovation. It was wonderful to see."

The Wizards are 5-23 following their ninth loss in the space of 11 games. They sit 14th in the Eastern Conference, above only the Detroit Pistons, who have lost 25 games in a row.

Luka Dončić notched a triple-double by halftime and finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in three quarters in the Dallas Mavericks’ 147-97 rout of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

Doncic grabbed a rebound with 71 seconds left in the first half and assisted on Dereck Lively II’s dunk 12 seconds later to complete the 60th triple-double of his career. That moved him past Larry Bird into sole possession of ninth on the career list.

The Dallas superstar had the first 25-point first-half triple-double in NBA history. Doncic shot 14 of 25 from the field and was 6 of 12 from long range.

Kyrie Irving added 26 points for Dallas, which had its highest-scoring game of this season and came up two points shy of the highest-scoring game ever in regulation.

Ochai Agbaji scored 21 points for the Jazz, who played without top scorers Lauri Markkanen (hamstring) and Jordan Clarkson (thigh).

Grizzlies’ Bane goes off as Pistons lose again

Desmond Bane poured in 32 of his career-high 49 points in the second half and the Memphis Grizzlies sent the Detroit Pistons to their 18th straight loss, 116-102.

Detroit’s streak is the longest single-season run in franchise history and the longest in the NBA since the Houston Rockets’ 20-game slide in 2020-21. The Philadelphia 76ers hold the NBA record with a 26-game drought in 2013-14.

Bane shot 19 of 31 from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point range while sinking all seven free-throw attempts. He added eight assists and six rebounds.

The Pistons held a 69-61 lead midway through the third quarter, but Bane scored the next seven points.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points for Detroit, which was outscored 34-18 in the fourth quarter.

Embiid drops 50 in 76ers’ win

Joel Embiid scored a season-high 50 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 131-126 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Embiid hit the 50-point mark for the sixth time in his career, falling nine points short of his career best set on Nov. 13, 2022, against Utah.

He was 19 of 24 from the floor with a 3-pointer on two attempts and 11 of 13 from the foul line. He also had seven assists and six turnovers in just over 38 minutes.

Tyrese Maxey added 26 points as the 76ers averted a third straight loss.

Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero and coach Jamahl Mosley both lauded a "special" night for the team as they equalled the franchise's record winning run by overcoming the Washington Wizards. 

Banchero finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, while Franz Wagner had a game-high 31 points as Orlando beat Washington for the second time in two days on Friday, clinching a 130-125 success at Amway Center.

The victory was Orlando's ninth in a row, taking them to 14-5 for the season and matching their longest ever streak, with the team having previously won nine straight in 1994, 2001 and 2010-11.

Orlando are one of just two NBA franchises – along with the Indiana Pacers – to never enjoy a double-digit winning run, but they have the chance to do so for the first time when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

"It's pretty special," Banchero said of the team's run, which began with the first of back-to-back road wins over the Chicago Bulls on November 15.

"Eventually I think a loss is going to come, but we just want to keep it rolling for as long as we can. 

"But you're not surprised when you do something like this because we've got great chemistry and we play really well together."

Orlando are up to second in the Eastern Conference, with only the 15-4 Boston Celtics and the 14-4 Minnesota Timberwolves boasting better records across the entire league.

Head coach Mosley said: "It's a big time for this group, but more importantly, I think it's a big time for the fans and the organisation. 

"There's an energy, there's a vibe, a buzz about this group, and our guys are doing a good job of embracing it, not getting too high or too low but being able to register that this is something special."

The Orlando Magic beat the Washington Wizards 130-125 on Friday to match a franchise record with their ninth straight win behind strong games from Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero.

Wagner scored 31 points for his third straight game with at least 30 and Banchero had 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Orlando has had four nine-game winning streaks, previously in 1994, 2001 and 2010-11. The Magic are one of only two NBA franchises without a double-digit win streak. The Indiana Pacers’ longest win streak is also nine games.

Jalen Suggs and Banchero combined for 10 straight points midway through the third quarter to give Orlando an 86-79 lead.

The Magic did not pull ahead for good until Wagner’s layup with 7:06 remaining opened a 7-0 run.

Kyle Kuzma led Washington with 27 points and Daniel Gafford had 18 and 11 rebounds. The Wizards have lost 11 of 12.

Tatum ejected but Celtics get past depleted 76ers

Jayson Tatum scored 21 points before he was ejected and the Boston Celtics defeated the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers, 125-119 to remain unbeaten on its home court.

Tatum was tossed near the end of the third quarter for arguing a foul call after he had already received a technical in the first half.

Derrick White also had 21 points and Jaylen Brown and Al Horford each added 20 for Boston, which has won three straight overall and improved to 9-0 at home.

The 76ers, who were without leading scorers Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, were led by Patrick Beverley’s season-high 26 points.

Jokic lifts Nuggets as Durant moves up scoring list

Nikola Jokić had 21 points and 16 assists to help the Denver Nuggets hold off the Phoenix Suns, 119-111 on the night Kevin Durant moved into 10th place on the NBA’s career scoring list.

Reggi Jackson added 20 points and Michael Porter Jr. had 19 with 10 rebounds as the Nuggets won their fourth straight game.

Durant finished with 30 points but shot 8 of 25 from the field and missed all five shots in the fourth quarter.

He moved into 10th place on the scoring list in the second quarter, driving the baseline for a layup to pass Moses Malone with 27,411 points.

Denver played without Jamal Murray (ankle) and Aaron Gordon (heel), while Phoenix was without Devin Booker (ankle) and Bradley Beal (back).

Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams hit out at his team's lack of fight and said they were failing to honour the franchise's jersey after they slipped to a 14th consecutive defeat on Monday.

The Pistons suffered another heavy loss at Little Caesars Arena as the Washington Wizards claimed a 126-107 win, Kyle Kuzma leading the way with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

While Washington ended their own nine-game losing streak, Detroit now have the worst record in the league after slipping to 2-15, losing three of their last four games by at least 19 points.

In a post-game media appearance lasting just one minute, Williams accused his team of failing to compete while acknowledging he is ultimately responsible for turning things around.

"That wasn't fight on the floor. That wasn't Pistons basketball by any stretch of the imagination," Williams said. 

"That's what this is, we have to have people that honour the organisation and the jersey by competing at a high level every night. I'm not talking about execution, just competing. That wasn't it, and that's on me."

Asked what needs to improve as the Pistons prepare to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Williams added: "It's just a level of growing up on this team, maturity, understanding what game-plan discipline is. All the stuff we talk about all the time. It's enough talking."

Guard Cade Cunningham echoed his coach's thoughts, saying the team needed to improve physically. 

"We all want to win really bad," Cunningham said. "Everybody's doing it out of the spirit of that; wanting to win, wanting to do what's best for the team.

"I think we need more aggressive mess-ups. Where we're struggling right now is slip-ups where we're not physical enough or not aggressive enough. That's what we need to lean towards instead of trying not to press.

"We play great stretches, and then we've had crazy bad stretches where we dig ourselves in too deep of a hole. 

"That's it right there, it's just holding each other accountable and when we do feel it start to slip, having the mental stamina to stay together, stay connected."

Joel Embiid racked up 30 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Philadelphia 76ers rolled to a 138-94 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, giving LeBron James the most lopsided loss of his 21-year NBA career.

Tyrese Maxey complemented Embiid's sixth career triple-double with 31 points and eight assists, and the 76ers dominated from the 3-point line to also record their largest margin of victory in 290 all-time regular-season meetings with the Lakers.

James' previous worst loss came by 42 points, a 136-94 defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 5, 2019, in his first season with the Lakers. The NBA's all-time leading scorer finished with 18 points and five assists but failed to register a rebound.

Philadelphia finished 22 of 46 from 3-point range compared to 7 of 28 for Los Angeles, which trailed by double digits since late in the first quarter and were outscored by a whopping 40-14 margin in the fourth despite the 76ers resting Embiid and fellow starters Tobias Harris and De'Anthony Melton the entire period.

Anthony Davis ended with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who have dropped two of three since a 6-1 stretch from Nov. 10-21.

Nuggets handle Clippers despite Jokic resting

DeAndre Jordan filled in well for a resting Nikola Jokić as the Denver Nuggets rallied for a 113-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Jordan posted 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists starting in place of Jokic, who was held out with Denver playing for the second consecutive night. Reggie Jackson had 13 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Nuggets back from an 11-point deficit to start the period.

Jackson, who spent parts of four seasons with the Clippers before being traded away in February, added 13 assists. Jordan played his first 10 NBA seasons with Los Angeles from 2008-18.

The Nuggets trailed 88-77 after three quarters before outscoring the Clippers by a 36-16 margin in the fourth. They went ahead for good when Jackson capped a 15-2 run to start the period with a short floater that gave Denver a 92-90 lead with under 7 1/2 minutes left.

Los Angeles, which had won four of five following a 3-7 start, went just 4 of 17 from the field in the fourth quarter and got just six points on 2-of-13 shooting from star Paul George.

Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 31 points and eight rebounds, while Ivica Zubac recorded 23 points and 14 boards. 

Wizards halt nine-game losing streak, extend Pistons' skid to 14

Kyle Kuzma compiled 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Washington Wizards to a 126-107 victory over the Detroit Pistons in a matchup of the NBA's two worst teams.

Washington, which entered the game with an identical 2-14 record to Detroit, halted a nine-game losing streak. The Pistons have now lost 14 consecutive games, tied for the longest skid in franchise history within a single season.

The Wizards led by just one early in the third quarter before Kuzma took over, as the veteran forward scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting for the period to help extend Washington's advantage to 94-83 entering the fourth.

Washington maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way while shooting 50.6 per cent from the field for the game. Deni Avdija and Danilo Gallinari each contributed 16 points to the victory.

Cade Cunningham led Detroit with 26 points and seven assists, while Jalen Duren finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.

 

 

Jaylen Brown was bullish about the Boston Celtics' quality after their convincing win over the Washington Wizards.

Brown had 36 points and Jayson Tatum added 33 as the Celtics cruised to a 126-107 win on Monday.

It brought up Boston's third straight win to start the season.

Not that Brown is at all surprised, given the quality the Celtics possess.

"We've got a lot of talent. We're going to be more talented than a lot of teams. We just try to take advantage of all of our opportunities," he said.

"It's nights like tonight where it's easy to take your foot off the gas, but if you want to do what you say you want to do, we've got to come out and play the game the right way."

With the Celtics leading by 37 midway through the third quarter, coach Joe Mazzulla was able to rest his star players for the final stretch.

And making fast starts is crucial to Boston's gameplan.

"We think it's something we can control, the way we come out and start games," Mazzulla said.

"We just have too many good players and we have a chance. We're really trying to make sure we come out with the right mindset the whole game.

"It doesn't mean it's going to go our way. I really liked our approach."

Kristaps Porzingis, who set a franchise record with his 30 points on debut last week, enjoyed a winning return to Washington, having switched to the Celtics in June.

"This was home for a year-and-a-half," said the Latvian, who finished with 15 points against his former team. "So definitely some good, good memories here."

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum grabbed 69 points between them as the Boston Celtics cruised to a third straight win with a 126-107 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Brown scored 36 points and Tatum 33, Kristaps Porzingis adding 15 on his return to Washington after an off-season move between the clubs.

It is the second successive season the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals last time out, have begun with three straight wins.

Their efforts were eclipsed by Dejounte Murray, who matched his career-best haul with 41 points as he helped the Atlanta Hawks come from 19 points down at half-time to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-113.

Steph Curry shrugged off the absence of Klay Thompson with a knee injury as he inspired the Golden State Warriors to a 130-102 win at the New Orleans Pelicans.

Curry scored 42 points, opening with a pair of three-pointers from 25 feet and wrapping his scoring up from 31 feet.

The Dallas Mavericks remain unbeaten as Luka Doncic grabbed a triple-double with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a 125-110 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nikola Jokic also recorded a triple-double – his second of the season – with 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets saw off the Utah Jazz 110-102.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points for the Milwaukee Bucks as they avenged being eliminated by the Miami Heat in last year’s play-offs with a 122-114 win, despite 35 points from Tyler Herro.

Cam Thomas scored 33 points as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Charlotte Hornets 133-121 for their first win of the season, while Nikola Vucevic inspired the Chicago Bulls as they came from behind late to inflict a first defeat on the Indiana Pacers, 112-105.

The Portland Trail Blazers also claimed their first win, Jerami Grant scoring 22 points as they beat the Toronto Raptors 99-91, while 32 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Detroit Pistons.

 The Boston Celtics are acquiring Kristaps Porzingis in a three-team deal that will send Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies and Tyus Jones to the Wizards, according to reports on Wednesday. 

Memphis is sending the No. 25 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft and a 2024 first-round pick to the Celtics, while Boston will move the 35th pick in the draft to the Wizards. 

Porzingis had decided to opt into his $36 million player option for the 2023-24 season, according to the report.

He set personal highs with 23.2 points per game and 49.8 percent shooting last season while also averaging 8.4 rebounds – the third-most in his career.

The Knicks selected Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in 2015, and he was with New York until being traded to Dallas in January 2019. The Mavericks then sent Porzingis to Washington in February 2022.

Porzingis has averaged 19.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in 402 regular-season games.

Smart has spent his entire nine-year career with the Celtics, averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds. He started all 61 games he appeared in this season and averaged 11.5 points and a career-high 6.3 assists. 

It’s been a busy offseason for the Wizards, who could start the 2023-24 campaign without their three top scorers.

Washington has agreed to trade Bradley Beal (23.2 ppg) to the Phoenix Suns in a deal that will see Chris Paul land with the Wizards, and Kyle Kuzma (21.2 ppg) has reportedly declined his $13 million player option.

Jones is coming off his best season as an eight-year pro, the last four with Memphis. He set career bests with 10.3 points and 5.2 assists in 2022-23. 

 

The Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards are close to completing a blockbuster trade that will send three-time All-Star Bradley Beal to Phoenix and veteran guard Chris Paul to Washington, ESPN reported Sunday.

Washington will also acquire guard Landry Shamet and multiple second-round picks, and the deal is also expected to include a swap of draft picks.

Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed to ESPN that the teams have a framework for a trade in place and his client will waive his no-trade clause.

"This was an extremely complicated process with so many different hurdles to get through, and [Wizards owner] Ted Leonsis and [Wizards president] Michael Winger were unbelievable partners in making this happen," Bartelstein said. 

After missing the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, Beal now joins a star-laden Suns squad that figures to be among the preseason favourites in the Western Conference. The move gives Phoenix three of the league's 10 players to average 23 or more points per game in each of the last five seasons in Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

Beal had spent his entire 11-year career with the Wizards, who selected the former University of Florida star with the third overall pick of the 2012 draft, and had shown great loyalty to a franchise that has failed to get past the first round of the playoffs in six consecutive seasons. He re-signed with Washington on a five-year, $251 million max contract last summer.

But with Beal turning 30 later this month and the Wizards coming off a 12th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, the sharpshooter had become more open to a trade.

"From the day that Ted drafted Brad he has been by our side along with [former general managers] Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Sheppard.," Bartelstein told ESPN. "They've always had Brad's back in every way, and now we have experienced the exact same thing with Ted and Michael Winger. We are extremely grateful."

Beal has averaged 23.2 points per game in each of the past two seasons but has been slowed by injuries in both, as he played in just 40 games in 2021-22 and 50 last season. He shot a career-high 50.6 per cent from the field in 2022-23, however, and is a career 37.2 per cent shooter from 3-point range who has averaged 22.1 points in 695 overall games.

It's unclear if the rebuilding Wizards intend to keep Paul. The 38-year-old's $30.8 million salary for 2023-24 is partially guaranteed, and ESPN reported it's possible the proposed trade could include a third team that would send Paul to a contender.

Shamet, a 38.8 per cent career 3-point shooter who has averaged 8.9 points per game over five NBA seasons, just completed the first season of a four-year, $42.5 million extension - though the final two years of that deal are non-guaranteed.

 

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