NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Morris ready to leave Phoenix — It’s been a few weeks since Markieff Morris said that he wouldn’t be in Phoenix much longer, possibly traded by the start of training camp. The Suns have stood pat since then, but Morris hasn’t backed down. On Thursday night, he reiterated his stance on twitter…
Morris’ contract extension (four years, $32 million) kicks in this season. The Suns traded his brother Marcus to Detroit in July, when they were looking to clear cap space for free agents. They added Tyson Chandler, but struck out on LaMarcus Aldridge.
No. 2: Beal, Wizards still not close on extension — Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks of the 2012 Draft, have signed contract extensions that have them under contract through the 2020-21 and ’19-20 seasons, respectively. There are still almost two months for ’12 draftees to sign extensions, but one might not get done for No. 3 pick Bradley Beal if he’s looking for the max (about $120 million over five years), because the Wizards will want to maintain flexibility for next summer, when a certain D.C. native will be a free agent. J. Michael of CSN has the latest on where Beal and the Wizards stand…
While talks remain open, CSNmidatlantic.com was told, there hasn’t been any movement. Beal, who believes he’s worth a max deal, just returned from Taiwan and president Ernie Grunfeld had been on vacation.
The lack of reaching a compromise isn’t an indication of any greater problems, but the Wizards aren’t in a position in which they must commit to a four-year deal fully guaranteed right now with so many moving parts ahead in free agency in the summer of 2016.
If a move is going to be made, it appears it would have to come from Beal to make a deal happen.
No. 3: Heat could have hard time keeping Whiteside — The Miami Heat have changed the terms of Hassan Whiteside‘s contract, which now gives him a fully guaranteed $981,348 salary for 2014-15, rather than partial guarantees until Dec. 1. If Whiteside continues to play as well as he did at times last season, that 981K is a bargain. But a strong season for Whiteside could make it difficult for the Heat to retain him next summer, as the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman explains…
The change of the 2015-16 terms does not ease the Heat’s tenuous status with Whiteside going forward.
With Whiteside to fall short of full Bird Rights due to only a two-year tenure with the team, the Heat still will have to create salary-cap space to re-sign him next summer. The only way for the Heat to go over the 2016-17 salary cap to re-sign Whiteside would be if he would sign for the average salary as part of his Early Bird Rights, a figure of less than $10 million, one expected to be far below his market value.
No. 4: Prokhorov to buy rest of Nets, Barclays — Earlier this year, there were stories that Mikhail Prokhorov could be selling his share of the Brooklyn Nets. Now, Prokhorov is on the brink of going all-in on both the Nets and their arena, as the New York Post reports…
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is nearing a deal to buy all of the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets from Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises, The Post has learned.
Prokhorov has been in talks to buy the 55 percent of the arena and 20 percent of the NBA team he does not already own. Under the deal being discussed, he would kick in little cash beyond forgiving the roughly $31 million Forest City owes him to cover team losses, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News says there’s still issues to be addressed before the deal is done…
But, according to three high-ranking officials with both the Nets, Prokhorov and Forest City, the deal with Forest City Enterprise isn’t close to completion and won’t be done for perhaps another month.
“I don’t see this deal getting done probably for maybe the better part of three to four weeks,” one source told the Daily News. “There’s just a lot of issues that remain before we’re even close to being a done deal. It’s a complicated deal and it just takes time. But nothing is imminent.”
The source did say that both Prokhorov and Forest City are “motivated” to reach an agreement and the likelihood was still good the transaction happens.
But the deal won’t occur before a Sept. 8 deadline set by Prokhorov’s private investment firm, Onexim Group, for Forest City to pay back $6 million in debt, the sources all agreed.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: LeBron James is helping adults get their GEDs … Dante Exum had surgery to repair his torn ACL on Thursday … Free agent Landry Fields had hip surgery … Kyle Lowry talks weight loss … and Rick Carlisle is a pilot.
ICYMI: Some ankle-breaking highlights from last season:
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