Should the trade rumors subside and John Wall return to the Wizards' backcourt, Gilbert Arenas thinks the pressure will be on Wall to make it work with Bradley Beal, his longtime teammate who became the unquestioned face of the team in Wall's long injury absence.
Arenas spoke to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller in an exclusive interview earlier this month.
"This is an important year for both parties but more important for John than it is for Beal because what can you do for me, what have you done for me lately which is on Beal's side," Arenas said. "So if it ain't working, everyone looks at John. Because you have to remember you're the point guard, you're supposed to get the ship together."
With Wall sidelined since the 2018 season with a torn Achilles tendon, Beal has become an All-NBA caliber player, putting up dazzling numbers on offense. He signed a two-year contract extension with the Wizards in 2019, which included a player option in 2022-23. He's made it clear that the Wizards have to build a contending team around him for him to stay in Washington.
Wall got a dose of reality this week when a report of the Wizards talking about trading him to the Rockets surfaced. When asked about the commitment to building around Beal, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard pointed to Wall's long absence from the lineup.
"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," Sheppard said.
Wall, according to Miller, was surprised to hear Sheppard's similar comments earlier this month that Washington is building around Beal, but does understand the thinking.
So when the season finally starts - if Wall remains in a Wizards uniform - Arenas said that Wall, as the point guard, is the one who is supposed to have the vision to make everything work on the court. And if it doesn't work out?
That, Arenas said, will be on Wall.
Stay tuned to NBCSportsWashington.com for more from Arenas.