Frustration has set in with the Washington Wizards after a 5-11 start to the season to the point a recent practice turned volatile with multiple verbal altercations occurring. At the forefront were leaders John Wall and Bradley Beal, who led two separate incidents during the practice, according to multiple reports.
Beal got into a heated argument with reserve guard Austin Rivers which led to Wall getting into it with reserve forward Jeff Green. At some point, head coach Scott Brooks tried to intervene leading to Wall cursing at his coach “F–k you.”
Wall was fined for the expletive response to Brooks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Beal then turned to team officials saying, “I’ve been dealing with this for seven years,” according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.
Candace Buckner of the Washington Post gives more details of the practice that turned ugly.
According to sources, John Wall and Jeff Green also got into it and their player-on-player verbal altercation led to Coach Scott Brooks trying to intervene and that's when Wall hurled an expletive at the coach.
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) November 20, 2018
Highlighted through the details is Beal gesturing towards general manager Ernie Grunfeld, “it starts at the top” according to Buckner.
While Wall and Beal have been one of the more dynamic backcourts, the team’s struggles in recent years have kept them from getting over the hump towards NBA title contention. A large reason has been the supporting cast that has been constructed around them by Grunfeld. Washington has yet to produce an adequate third option with the two, despite giving Otto Porter a max contract worth over $106 million in 2017. Numerous insiders and fans of the Wizards have pointing to the shortcomings of Grunfeld’s decisions through the years.
There’s no clarity as to what Beal meant by his gesture towards Grunfeld or if he was directing either of his reported comments at the front office or any particular player.
Meanwhile, the root of the entire ordeal was a disputed foul call during a scrimmage on Thursday before the team went on to lose to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday and blown out by the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday.
On Monday a report by Wojnarowski, suggested the Wizards were willing to make every player available on the trade market, including the franchise’s two cornerstone players. However, Buckner reports league sources say all indications are the Wizards have “zero” plans to move either Wall or Beal.
With the team’s disappointing start to the 2018-19 season, any news of discontent especially involving the team’s best two players is going to be pushed into the headlines and will increase the buzz of the Wizards needing to blow up the roster or at the very least make a headline-splashing transaction. Only thing to cure the recent string of negativity is wins, but that may be increasing difficult considering the personality clashes within locker.