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Wall Asks to be Traded

It’s being reported that John Wall has asked to be traded. Over the next three seasons, Wall is scheduled to be paid $41,254,920, $44,310,840, and $47,366,760.

That’s a lot of money for a player coming off injury but the Washington Wizards front office really want to see Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and GM Tommy Sheppard have been willing to do what it takes to build a team that can compete in today’s NBA. Having Beal and Wall and re-signing Davis Bertans was a priority.

Washington put their money where their mouth is when they gave Bertans a 5 year-$80M contract.

So why would a player who plays for a team that is willing to do anything want to leave? Apparently winning is important to Wall but winning with Wall being the face of the franchise is more important.

Wall seems to be bothered by being involved in trade talks and the appearance that the Wizards moved on from him being the face of the franchise.

Earlier this week, Sheppard made it clear who the Wizards were building around. “When I say we’re building around [Beal], John’s been away for two years, it’d be unfair to say, ‘Hey this is John’s team.’ Bradley’s put in the work, he’s been available, John didn’t ask to be injured but the NBA marches on.”

Though this seems a pretty fair assessment of the situation, it’s being reported that Wall isn’t too thrilled with not having the team built around him.

The problem for John Wall might be of his own doing. Most of his 4 year / $171,131,520 contract is still on the books and is considered one of the worst contracts in the league. What complicates the deal even more is the financial impact the league has suffered because of the coronavirus.

There aren’t too many teams willing to take on that sort of contract for a point guard who has been borderline injury prone.

It’s why a deal with Houston would makes sense. On the surface it looks like the Wizards are just reshuffling chairs on the deck of the Titanic but that’s not the case. A trade for Westbrook would help the team as long as the Wizards don’t have to give up any additional assets.

Though Westbrook’s numbers dropped in Houston, playing in a more conventional system might help him. Shooting less three pointers would be a start. Having the ability to penetrate and kick to shooters would also help. Washington’s offense is more free flowing that the ball-dominant style James Harden played. It helps that Westbrook has played for Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City.

Is it a risk? Of course it is but it isn’t a bigger risk that having an upset point guard who may or may not be 100% healthy.

The Wizards need to get this right. They are clearly behind the Caps, Nationals, and Washington’s football team in the DC sports landscape.

What’s disappointing about this is more D1 players come out of Maryland, DC and Virginia than any other area. Basketball is huge in this area but the Wizards are in a competitive space and they have yet to get people to care enough about their team to command more than segment on local sports talk radio.

Trading Wall and convincing Beal to stay beyond his current contract would be a start.

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