With the Washington Wizards’ dreadful 5-11 start this season, the pressure to make an abrupt change increases. Despite both John Wall and Bradley Beal being the cornerstones of the franchise, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Wizards’ management was giving “an impression that every player on their roster” was available for trade to other teams, including the dynamic backcourt.
The news has sent social media into a whirlwind, as it signaled the beginning of the end for the two being paired given both are very attractive pieces to covet from other teams. However, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports that is not the case. According to league sources familiar with the Wizards says Washington has “zero” plans to move either Wall or Beal.
Although Washington may be floundering during a 5-11 start to the season, there is a belief that the team has zero plans to move on from either of its franchise cornerstones, based on conversations with multiple league sources who have familiarity with the Wizards and how their front office operates. A Wizards spokesman, meanwhile, cited team policy by saying President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld “doesn’t comment on rumors, so he won’t comment on this one.”
Both are still under the age of 30 with Beal being 25 and Wall being 28 years of age. The two have been together for seven seasons since the Wizards drafted Bradley Beal third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Both have been the benchmark of the team and leaders within a locker room that has not always been the most stable.
The constant overturn has taken a toll on the pair. This season Wall averages 20.9 points per game and a team-high 7.9 assists. Beal averages a team-high 21.5 points and 3.5 assists. The third leading scorer is Dwight Howard with 12.8 points per game in nine appearances.
At the large of the team’s struggles is the lack of a third scorer. In an era of super teams, Washington lacks that feel in large with Otto Porter struggling to be that third centerpiece. The small forward was given a max contract ($106.5 million, four years) in 2017 that makes him currently the Wizards’ highest paid player this season.
While Porter is the obvious choice to move first, Washington is having a tough time gaining suitors in the trade market, according to Buckner. That along with the slow start has sparked the rumors of the Wizards’ willingness to trade Beal or Wall.