The Washington Wizards suffered yet another embarrassing loss on Monday. For the sixth time this season, the Wizards lost to a sub .500 team by 14 or more points, as the Dallas Mavericks hammered Washington 98-75. The Wizards seemed lethargic throughout and shot a pedestrian 30.6 percent from the field.
In fact, the only excitement in the game was the five technical fouls and one ejection in the game. In one moment late in the game, J.J. Barea was called for an offensive foul after running into Wizards’ forward Kelly Oubre. As the ball changed possession, Wizards point guard John Wall had a few choice words for Barea. Barea did not take Wall’s words lightly and the two exchanged words before Barea was called a technical foul.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) January 23, 2018
That exchange revealed a troubling rumor involving Wall and his teammates. Following the game, Wall and Barea were both asked about the exchange. It’s Barea’s thoughts that may be troubling to Wizards fans. Tim MacMahon of ESPN highlighted both comments.
John Wall called JJ Barea “just a little midget trying to get mad.” Barea responds by saying he finally has someone in the NBA he doesn’t like. “I don’t think his teammates like him, either.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 23, 2018
Wall’s words were of frustration. He was dealing with a migraine that has plagued him throughout the season. He scored 11 points and had five assists in 36 minutes. However, it was Barea’s words that left a sting.
“I don’t think his teammates like him, either”
That’s a bold statement. Yes, Wall just gifted the team Rolexes. But, details of a most recent players-only meeting show there is some resentment within the Wizards locker room. It’s not certain at who but Bradley Beal and Wall’s account of the meeting show concern.
“We had our team meeting,” Wall said Friday per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “A couple guys took it the negative way and it hurt our team. Instead of taking it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a little bit.”
“It was tough. I try to keep all our stuff as personal as possible but I think in a way not everybody got a chance to speak whenever they wanted to,” Bradley Beal said. “They didn’t want to bring up an issue or something they had a problem with on the team. Regardless of what may be going on, as men we’ve got to be able to accept what the next man says, be respectful about it and move on from it. I think it was one of those situations where we didn’t necessarily get everything that we wanted to get accomplished.”
Barea did not elaborate what led to him drawing that conclusion about the Wizards. Wall thought his exchanged with Barea was “funny.”
But with the Wizards falling to a disappointing 26-21 and details of dissension among the locker room. Barea’s hot take is no laughing matter. Luckily, Washington is not the only Eastern Conference team struggling and despite Monday’s tough loss are just two games away from the third in the conference. However, if whatever is troubling the team is not resolved soon — whether it’s on or off the court — the team could be headed to a dismal finish.