With the losses piling up, rumors about the Washington Wizards’ future will increase. Another report emerged Monday following Sunday’s 119-109 home loss to the Portland Trailblazers.
From ESPN’s NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski:
As the Washington Wizards' season spirals, the franchise has started to deliver teams an impression that every player on their roster -- including All-Star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal -- is available for discussion in trade scenarios, league sources told ESPN.Washington's preference remains to reshape the team around Wall and Beal, but poor play among key teammates is limiting their trade value and paralyzing the Wizards' efforts to make meaningful changes to a roster that no longer appears functional together, league sources said.
This isn’t the first time this season that a report emerged about Washington’s potential involvement in trade talks. There is a difference, however. Prior reports had the Wizards inquiring about adding All-Star talents like Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard to the Wall-Beal pairing as a way to push the projected contenders up the Eastern Conference standings.
This new angle from Wojnarowski is more about breaking up the band because of the off-key tone emerging from this roster after 16 games.
Sunday’s loss dropped Washington to 5-11. Of those defeats, seven have been by at least 10 points including the last two.
The Wizards have several tradable assets particularly with eight of their 13 players entering some form of free agency this summer including starting power forward Markieff Morris and key reserve Kelly Oubre Jr. Moving any of those players could provide some help on the margins or provide a needed wakeup call for a slumbering group. A true shakeup means dealing Wall, Beal or Otto Porter.
Wall’s supermax contract extension starts with 2019-20 season. He will average $42 million annually over the next four years. There’s an additional cost with a move as Wall’s contract includes a 15 percent trade kicker. None of the financial or compensation aspects factors in any deal involving Wall would mean dealing the face of the franchise since Washington selected the point guard No. 1 overall in 2010.
Beal, 25, is the more attractive guard for other teams. His off-ball game would be an easy fit for virtually any team in the league. The All-Star’s contract extension is the more palatable of the trio even with a $28.7 million salary in 2020-21, the final year of his deal. Porter, whose deal also extends to 2020-21, is the Wizards’ highest paid player this season at $26 million.
Players said last week they don’t want to see trades.
“Everybody just has to be calm and patient,” Wall told NBC Sports Washington Thursday before back-to-back losses. “You hear all the talks about trade everybody, blow the team up. There’s no need for that.”
The recent play offers clues as to why change could occur.
Portland led 32-12, by 21 points at halftime and 29 in third quarter.
"We've got to just play with more enthusiasm, more effort, more energy," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after the loss. "That's embarrassing."
Wall and Beal also weighed in Sunday on the lagging effort postgame.
"You can't teach effort. You can't teach heart," Wall said.
Washington’s deep reserves pushed back in the final period and cut the deficit to single digits briefly.
“It was terrible,” Beal said of the work from the main rotation players. “The guys who were in it at the end of the game played their asses off – played the way they we’re supposed to play the whole game and we didn't do that.”
The Wizards aren’t playing the way anyone imagined. With 66 games remaining, there is plenty of time for a turnaround. At the moment, everyone is searching for solutions.
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