I think you all know the big news of the day in D.C. basketball. John Wall wants to leave the Washington Wizards.
Our staff chatted about it. Here’s the roundtable.
Albert Lee: John Wall is demanding a trade out of Washington.
That is correct. Wall wants out.
I am not surprised given the Russell Westbrook report earlier this week. But I also feel sad that this seems to be how the Wall era ends in Washington. How do you all feel about it just minutes after the initial report?
Bullet Nation in Exile: Is this Wall’s reaction to the news?
Matt Modderno: He’s out of touch if he’s mad about Sheppard’s comments about building around Bradley Beal. That’s what happens when you can’t play for 2 years and have major injuries.
Teams can’t bank on you. No one is going to trade him for him at this point. And who are even potential options? Blake Griffin now that the Detroit Pistons just signed like five free agent big men?
Kevin Love maybe? How about Al Horford?
Typically players make these things public to force a team’s hand but there’s nothing to force here.
He has to actually play and play well to be tradeable. That’ll be a “fun” training camp knowing he has to play minutes to show he has value but doesn’t want to be here. Maybe they can show him some love and smooth it over but either way, I don’t see him going anywhere. And if Sheppard can trade him, he’s the real Wizard.
Albert: To your point Matt, I will say that Wall is untradeable with the exception of the Westbrook option from earlier this week. At this point the Wizards have to get Westbrook.
And BNIE, yes. This apparently is his reaction. (Sigh)
Lyndie Wood: Yeah this is tough. Wall is not going to be easy to move, and the Wizards really shouldn’t give up much in the way of assets to do it. I don’t see him getting traded before the season starts. The locker room could be...interesting this year.
I don’t think it’s reasonable for Wall to be mad about Sheppard saying they would build around Beal. But I do get the Westbrook trade discussions rubbing him the wrong way. Yes, it’s a business, but business involves relationships and it’s always going to be complicated in a situation like this where a player has been with a team this long.
I agree that Horford is a good target for the team in this situation. I have to say though, as a major Horford-to-D.C. proponent in 2016, getting him in 2020 because John Wall demanded a trade is the most #SoWizards thing I’ve heard in awhile.
And Albert, think the difficult thing to weigh right now is how it will affect the rest of the team to have Wall on the roster when training camp starts vs. just how much sweetener are the Rockets demanding.
BNIE: Well. It’s an ugly reality. Wall has barely played for two years and is making $40 million annually. So, yeah...you build around the foundation that hasn’t collapsed (Beal).
I guess I’m fine with it. It is what it is, and if that much of the Wizards’ thinking is going to be made public, Wall’s may as well be, too. The drawbacks of his demand being public are obvious, but I doubt he much cares at this point.
Yanir Rubinstein: I think this could be the beginning of a cultural restart for the Wizards and could be a blessing in disguise: this is Tommy’s first real test and he could come out of this strengthened if he shows resolve. I just wrote some ramblings about my thoughts on this situation below:
Marcus Atkinson: The idea of building around Bradley Beal without Wall makes a lot of sense. The Wizards are basically doing that already. But it doesn’t makes sense to express this publicly.
The optics of the statement were poor and it was misguided, not only for how Wall views it, but also the fanbase. I understand this is a business and Wall needs to understand that, but there is a way that it can be communicated that didn’t need to go down the road it did.
Lyndie: I agree, Marcus, and I think it’s especially true given the fact that Wall was going to be difficult to trade. It doesn’t cost Sheppard anything to *not* say that the way he did.
Alan Jenkins: Clearly, he was blindsided by the Westbrook trade rumors and it irked him. Wall was loyal to the organization for years and could have easily requested a trade at many points but never did. I don’t think Sheppard saying he wants to build around Beal was the final straw but more talks of trading him broke all trust he had in the organization. To be honest, I think the Wizards are backed into a corner and have to trade him because I’m not sure how the team can smooth this over now.
He’s been enormous in the D.C. community with his charities, food drives, among many other things. I understand that “business is business” but man, it’s really ugly to see the John Wall era in D.C. likely come to an end this way.
Yanir Rubinstein: Wall has been great for the D.C. community in so many ways, but he has done the Wizards franchise a disservice by making his trade request public.
I’m actually going to give Tommy a lot of credit here. He is finally sticking to his word of a culture change. Wall would have likely faced disciplinary action (fined, tossed, or suspended) from most NBA organizations after that unfortunate video. I don’t know why Sheppard flaked from that at the time, but now he must be firm in letting Wall know the organization is indeed built around Beal.
We have more staff reactions from the roundtable. They will come out tomorrow.