Hi all, here is Part 2 of our reactions on John Wall requesting a trade from the Washington Wizards.
If you missed Part 1, please click here.
Greydy Diaz: This is just another example of no matter how loyal you are to an organization, it won’t make them loyal to you. It’s not just in the NBA. It’s that way in every line of work.
Players should, at all times, be putting themselves ahead of anything and everything because the NBA is a business first and foremost. Do emotions, at times, cloud that thought-process that I believe players should have? Absolutely, which is why news like this can be devastating for a player.
I agree with Alan [from yesterday’s post] that it sounds like Wall was blindsided by the Wizards talks on Russell Westbrook. His loyalty to the organization and the city was evident so it’s easy to see why Wall would request a trade. Wall has been committed to coming back from his 2018 season-ending Achilles tear and from what we’ve gotten glimpses of from social media, he looks eager and ready to return.
The Wizards have major work to do because I don’t think a trade will be easy and having him in the locker room, under these circumstances, is not ideal.
My advice to Wall: charge it to the game.
Yanir Rubinstein: I am not sure I buy the narrative of Wall being loyal means the Wizards should allow him to get away with anything at any cost.He should have been disciplined for that video. At least publicly he wasn’t, to the best of my knowledge. Then he needs to realize that this is not “his team”.
Since Brooks is not a coach that has shown any ability to tame Wall it must come from the front office, and kudos to Tommy Sheppard for doing his job. It really has nothing to do with any lack of loyalty from the Wizards and everything to do with Wall being coddled and overly protected for years.
Albert Lee: I agree Yanir. And to your point, the Wizards “coddled” Gilbert Arenas throughout the 2000s when he wouldn’t be put up to the same standards of behavior as others — all before the infamous guns in the locker room incident.
And Sheppard was part of the previous regime as well. I’m not saying that Sheppard is repeating everything Ernie Grunfeld did in this respect. But again, he was there as this was happening before Gungate.
Kevin Broom: Wall’s been a very good player for a crappy organization, and he’s been a royal pain in the ass at times. He’s feuded with teammates, been part of forming cliques, played favorites, and had to be told to pull his head out of his butt.
I don’t think loyalty is owed by team or player beyond the player doing his best and the team trying to compete, providing proper facilities and paying him on time.
Is it reasonable for Wall to take offense to what Sheppard said or to the Wizards discussing a trade with the Rockets? Of course not. What Sheppard said about building around Beal is akin to saying humans breathe air. It’s self-evident, obvious, and common knowledge. That someone as smart and connected to basketball as Wall is could be “blindsided” by it is preposterous.
All that said, while Wall’s reaction doesn’t make much sense, emotions are real things and he’s wounded by the comments and the trade talks. And, it is entirely reasonable to be at the end of his rope with this dumpster fire of a franchise.
Sheppard has to decide if he wants to employ his considerable people skills to fix this relationship with Wall or pay the price to trade him. As I wrote yesterday, I could see it going either way.
Sheppard has said to me some variation of “he wanted to go so we helped him find a new team” about at least three former players: Jared Jeffries, Larry Hughes and Trevor Ariza. He expressed the same thinking publicly regarding Tomas Satoransky. None of them were of Wall’s stature or production, however.
Jake Whitacre: Am I the only one that thinks Wall said he wanted out before everything came out about the Westbrook stuff?
Matt Modderno: I’m with you Jake. Some of NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller’s comments and tweets about Wall a few weeks ago made me think something might be up. Probably didn’t like Sheppard him out on some things from a PR perspective.
John Heiser: I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how the Wizards could have been more loyal to John Wall for the last decade. Every time the collective bargaining agreement allowed it, they paid him the most they could possibly pay him. The NBA had to come up with a bigger term than Maximum to label the extension he agreed to, THE SUPER MAX.
When John wanted veteran help, first round picks were sent out in exchange for Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and a Bojan Bogdanovic playoff rental.
On the floor, John played favorites, seemingly froze out some guys at times, because he could. Off the floor, John threw some teammates under the bus. Talked about needing a third star even after they matched Otto Porter’s max offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets.
When he showed up in subpar physical condition, the Wizards had his back. John’s thin skin had to be protected. When John’s people wanted stories about how fatherhood has matured him the team was there to help fill the columns with ink.
Keep in mind, John hasn’t played in two years!
While gearing up to finally return to the court, a video surfaces with John showing off gang signs, signs he’s flashed on the court while wearing a Wizards uniform. Again the organization supported him, “We’re disappointed but we talked and put it behind us”.
It’s been reported that incident did more damage than they let on. How could it not? A decade of the most money they could pay him. After a decade of excusing his immaturity, his callousness and he’s STILL making terrible decisions while displaying the insecurity of a Prima donna.
If John really wants out and isn’t just rattling his super max sabre as he’s done in the past, then he needs to put his money where his mouth is. Announce he’ll adjust his contract, essentially opting out of that final year to make it more palatable for teams to acquire him.
Beyond coming back and showing he’s as good as he’s ever been, thats what he can do to facilitate his supposed trade request.
A sidenote: If I’m Bradley Beal, I’m thinking this is exactly the drama and lack of accountability that I chirped at Ernie about that day in practice. I’m put on the hypothetical ESPN Trade Machine 1000 times per day and you don’t see me losing my head. Then you put John’s name in one story (that was just Houston airing it out) and John melts like ice cream in August.
John Morrow: Tried finding it but couldn’t — what did Chris Miller say on Twitter?
I think it’s unlikely that Wall wanted out before. I guess it’s possible but why? The Wizards, as is clear again just 18 hours into free agency, are a laughingstock to the rest of the league after filling up the roster with flotsam. (Yes, the same type of flotsam they dealt with in 2013!) But in terms of Wall - I think the organization has been more than fair.
They paid him the supermax at the first chance they could. He then missed essentially two of three seasons, while still being paid in full. I’d garner that a majority of the other teams in the league would have had Wall back on the court by the All-Star break last season. The Wizards were consistently trying to do right by Wall and wanted him to come back as his best self, when he was fully ready.
I mean, how many other teams would’ve had him in his role as a coach and what other groups would’ve had the rest of the roster watching film of his playoff games from four years ago?
The catering to Wall has been extreme. I think it’s part of the reason why the team hasn’t been more successful.
For a guy who signed the supermax and then collapsed as a player, in large part because he “slipped in the bathroom” causing a torn achilles, demanding a trade seems wrong. I like Wall and have rooted for him his whole career and have long thought that he deserves more credit across the league, but this is some crap. He has taken the money and he has not delivered, and now with training camp 10 days away he’s thrown the entire season off course. A season that is centered around him being a focal point.
Kawhi Leonard was pushed to play too early coming back from injury, James Harden clearly sees that the Rockets owner won’t pay enough to field a winner, but what is Wall’s excuse? That there were brief discussions about trading him after being inactive for two years for an All-NBA player? Give me a break!
Rant over - sorry all!
Albert: Don’t worry John Morrow and also to you John Heiser, feel free to vent. That’s the stage of grief many fans are in at the moment.
I certainly am in the camp of fans who are angry that this drama has turned public. At the same time, I’m more angry about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on life due to the negligence of the American government, etc.
We still have more to share. So we’ll have a THIRD PART of our roundtable on Monday.