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Did Shams Charania get it wrong or is Tommy Sheppard trying to preserve his leverage by denying the John Wall trade rumors?

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The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported John Wall wants to be traded. Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard denied those rumors. Who is right?

Oklahoma City Thunder v Washington Wizards
John Wall guarding potential trade target Russell Westbrook
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday evening that John Wall told the Washington Wizards he wanted to be traded. Charania has a reputation and track record getting these types of reports right. He has a strong rapport with players, to the point where he actually sat in on a lot of the player’s only discussions during the NBA bubble. He doesn’t usually get things like this wrong and it seems like something you wouldn’t report unless you heard it from a very reliable source.

As you’ve probably seen by now, Wizards’ General Manager Tommy Sheppard came out this week and said that Wall has not requested a trade and when the two saw each other it wasn’t mentioned. So someone has to be wrong in this situation, right?

On this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast, I asked my cohost Larry Hughes for his insight on the rumors as someone who has both been traded and been around others who have asked to be traded.

Hughes believe it could be entirely true that Charania’s reporting was accurate when he said Wall wants to be traded. He also believed it could still be entirely true that Sheppard hasn’t heard from Wall directly about wanting to be traded.

“Players will come out to their agents or other people and say, ‘Hey, I want to be moved’ and then never say a word (to the team),” said Hughes. “I’ve seen players that on one end say ‘Get me out of here’ and then on the other end act like it’s all roses. I’ve seen that happen.”

No matter what the team says at this point, I think it’s still fair to assume where there’s smoke there’s fire. Maybe Wall leaked it to pressure the team into making bigger free agency moves? Maybe he simply said that if the team wasn’t in a position to win this year he’d rather go elsewhere and that got blown out of proportion.

It’s all speculation at this point but if that last part has any merit and Wall is unhappy with the state of the team, did this year’s free agency moves really do much to encourage him or change that perspective? We spent the majority of our episode evaluating each of the roster moves before giving our final opinion of the job the front office has done over the last week.

Hughes mentioned that when we had NBA draft analyst Matt Babcock on last week, he gave the Wizards an ‘A’ for the draft. We were both really encouraged to hear that but this free agency period hasn’t kept up the excitement.

“For me, it’s a flop,” said Hughes. “For me, I didn’t see or feel anything that if I’m on that team I’m like, ‘Yeah! We either got a steal or we got one or we spent a little more money than I thought we were gonna spend.’”

Orlando Magic v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two
Robin Lopez laying the ball up in the bubble
Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images

We gave the Wizards a “C-” for their free agency results so far but felt that could slightly improve with a creative signing to finish off the roster. What do you think of the job Tommy Sheppard and his staff have done this offseason?


Episode breakdown

“Does anything move the needle?” - Larry Hughes - 2:00

Why the Wizards are most concerned with the 1st 2 years of the Bertans deal and how that lines up nicely with Hachimura’s development time table - 4:00

Anthony Gill...another power forward? - 6:00

John Wall trade rumors and Larry’s perspective - 7:45

Charania vs. Sheppard, who is right? - 9:00

Robin Lopez signing - 13:00

“No one is going to come in and say they’re okay being the back-up” - Hughes 14:00

Could Ian Mahinmi have provided the same value as Robin Lopez for a lot less? 15:00

Raul Neto - 16:45

The wizards needed wings...and added none - 18:00

To bring Cassius along slowly as a 4-year college player might result in him being out of the league next year - 20:00

What is the Wizards plan? - 21:00

Would you consider this a successful offseason? - 22:45

Yoeli Childs - 24:00

Over/under on 28 wins for the Wizards - 25:00

Best case scenario for this team is a 7 or 8 seed - 26:00

What the team needs from John Wall to maximize their results - 27:00

If the team does decide to rebuild, the 2021 NBA Draft is loaded - 28:30

Cade Cunningham - 29:00

Jonathan Kuminga - 29:30

BJ Boston - 30:15

Evan Mobley - 31:00