With Bradley Beal signing a five-year deal worth nearly $130 million in July, there is no doubt that he and John Wall will be the Wizards' cornerstones for the foreseeable future.
You would think that both players are buddy-buddy on the court and off, but that isn't the case. In an interview with Chris Miller of CSN Mid-Atlantic in the video above, Wall acknowledged that. Here's the money quote from a report by J. Michael:
I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. … We got to be able to put that to the side. If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right ... as long as you come to each other and talk. If I starting arguing with somebody I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball," Wall said in a sitdown interview with CSN's Chris Miller that airs tonight, Wizards Central: Offseason Grind, at 7:30 p.m. ET.
"Now that you have your money you got to go out there and improve your game. I want you to be an All-Star just as much as I’m an All-Star. If we were playing well as a tandem like the other two superstars that play together as a backcourt, play as a tandem, one night it’s going to be his night, one night it’s going to be mine, some nights it might be both of us. Those are nights it’s going to be tough to beat us."
In addition, the video also shows Beal acknowledging that he needs to work on his on-court relationship with Wall.
The on-the-court chemistry issues are one thing, but apparently, this looked like it went off-the-court as well. In Michael's report, he noted that Wall and Beal were sitting quite far apart from each other during NBA Summer League games both attended. He also made note of a time when Beal injured his shoulder last November. Most teammates ran to his aid, but Wall walked to the other end of the court.
Yikes! What is going on?
For now, this just appears to be a situation where two teammates who are the biggest faces of the franchise are not best friends. And that's okay. When you are at your job or working on a group project at school, you may have to interact or collaborate with other people that you wouldn't hang out with outside of that environment.
That said, they still have to make sure their professional relationship works because they not only are the most talented Wizards on the court. They aren't just expected to play well together of course. Now, they are also expected to be the locker room leaders. Oher veterans like Nene, Drew Gooden, Martell Webster, and Garrett Temple are no longer on the team to fill that role, or perhaps even be a mediator between the two if things really aren't good between the two.
The "good news" from this report is that both Wall and Beal acknowledge that they need to work better together. They also have a new head coach in Scott Brooks who has dealt with franchise duos who worked well together but weren't best friends (Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant). And finally, the Wizards had a rough season last year where they underachieved. When teams have bad seasons, more things seem to be perceived as negative than otherwise.
At the end of the day, the Wizards need to bounce back from last season. And though they may not be best friends, Wall and Beal need each other more than ever to make sure this season is a success.