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Report: Wizards’ internal issues with contract-year players

Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors - Game Five

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 25: Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Toronto Raptors battles with Markieff Morris #5 and Kelly Oubre Jr. #12 of the Washington Wizards during the second half of Game Five in Round One of the 2018 NBA playoffs at Air Canada Centre on April 25, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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It’s not just that the Wizards are 1-6. It’s how they’re acting and talking.

Bradley Beal: “Sometimes we have our own agendas on the floor whether it’s complaining about shots, complaining about playing time, complaining about whatever it may be. We’re worried about the wrong [expletive], and that’s not where our focus needs to be and it’s just going to continue to hurt us.”

John Wall: “Everybody on their own agenda.”

More drama between those star guards? Perhaps not.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

There have been quite a few theories put forth as to whom all that referred to. But in talking to Wizards players this week, one theme brought up was the number of guys they have who are facing free agency at the end of the season.

That would exempt Wall and Beal, who are both on long-term contracts. It’d also absolve frequent criticism target Otto Porter, who also has long-term financial security.

Wizards on expiring contracts:

  • Markieff Morris
  • Kelly Oubre
  • Austin Rivers
  • Jeff Green
  • Tomas Satoransky

Dwight Howard can also opt out after the season. But he has yet to play and therefore shouldn’t be blamed for on-court selfishness to date.

Still, five key players in contract years are a lot to manage. Washington backing Scott Brooks can help the coach maintain authority, but getting everyone to buy in still isn’t easy.

This is why the 2015-16 Hornets are one of my favorite teams. They were stuffed with players on expiring contracts, but they banded together and won a post-reincarnation franchise-record 48 games.

The Wizards have the talent to do something similar. There’s just no sign of that type of cohesion. Or much cohesion at all.