From their disappointing 5-11 record and the recent series of reports of negativity in the locker room, the Washington Wizards have become a cesspool. A retool of supporting cast has not been enough to get the team over the hump and now conflicting reports suggest the Wizards are at the very least thinking of the unwarranted possibility of trading one or both of their two cornerstone players, John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Monday the team stole the headlines usually reserved for Washington’s NFL team this time of the year, but for all the wrong reasons. Multiple verbal altercations broke out during a practice last week that had both Wall and Beal at the forefront. Beal got into it with reserve guard Austin Rivers and then turned his tirade at general manager Ernie Grunfeld. Wall went at it with reserve forward Jeff Green before cursing at head coach Scott Brooks. Wall was reportedly fined in the aftermath.
Evidence, from a far, suggests a circus in the nation’s capital that could give Capitol Hill a run for its money. In the wake of the heated practice Wall addressed the media following shootaround. He said he didn’t know how to feel about recent trade rumors but that he loves being in Washington, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
“I don’t know what [trade rumors] feel like,” he said.
While discussing the possibility of leaving, Wall made it clear he doesn’t want to be traded.
“I love being here. I want to finish my career here,” he said. “That’s all I can control is playing basketball. I can’t control nothing else.”
Wall is averaging 20.9 points per game, second on the team only behind Beal’s 21.5 points per game. Wall leads the team with 7.9 assists per game. He is a five-time All-Star, and one of the better point guards in the NBA. However, he recently signed a super max extension that will kick in at the start of the 2019-20 season that will pay him an annual average of $42.3 million.
Additionally, his upcoming contract extension carries a 15% trade kicker that makes acquiring him next season or beyond more less attractive.
According to various reports, teams eye Beal as the Wizards’ most attractive asset to trade for with his contract value and young age (25). But, the Wizards have been reluctant at the current moment to move him.
The Wizards prefer to move the hefty contract of Otto Porter, who signed a four-year max deal with the Wizards worth over $106 million in 2017. However, his struggles on the court and inability to develop into an All-Star has sworn off suitors.
If the Wizards don’t turn around the narrative soon the front office may have to face an unwanted reality that Beal or Wall or both will have to be moved for the betterment of the franchise’s future. Judging by his words, Wall is hoping that Washington is not faced with that reality, because he loves being there.