Wizards say egos were part of what went wrong after 10-3


WASHINGTON -- The Wizards began the 2021-22 season with a 10-3 record, best in the Eastern Conference, with a defense that ranked fourth in the NBA in efficiency. From there, they quickly devolved into disaster, going 14-26 over a three-month stretch leading up to the trade deadline, which featured a major roster overhaul.

The Wizards traded away four players: Montrezl Harrell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans and Aaron Holiday. And judging by the way members of the team described the moves, they seem to think a change in chemistry was needed.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope offered some specifics after the team's win over the Nets on Thursday night.

"Everybody had their own agendas with how they wanted to attack this year, them playing. A lot of guys were fighting for minutes, they were complaining about minutes, not getting the ball, not touching it," he said.

As for what changed after 10-3: "Once everybody started getting comfortable, I feel like a lot of agendas and egos took over the goal that we wanted."

Kyle Kuzma had gone into detail in previous press conferences about how management needed to make changes, how there were issues with role assignments and how teammates weren't pulling for each other. On Thursday, he decided to be vaguer and instead flash a wry smile, suggesting he had more to say but didn't think it was necessary.

"I don’t want to get too much into it, but at the end of the day we started out really well and we just hit a rough patch and came really separated, if that makes sense," he said.


Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. was asked specifically about Dinwiddie, who in a way had the most surprising exit. Harrell and Holiday were on expiring contracts, which often get traded. Bertans was out of the rotation making a big contract, making him an obvious candidate to be dealt.

Dinwiddie, meanwhile, had just signed a three-year deal with the team in the offseason. He was one of the Wizards' more important acquisitions in the offseason and just months later they changed their minds. The reasons being because he was an awkward fit alongside Bradley Beal and also perhaps because of some issues Dinwiddie alluded to about his relationships with others in the locker room.

Unseld Jr. explained the basketball side of why his brief stint in Washington didn't work out.

"I think that’s something we’ve talked about and have been trying to figure out for quite some time. He’s a dynamic player and he had a lot of good moments. We just tried to get him going and keep him aggressive and I thought when he did that, he was tough to [guard]," Unseld Jr. said.

The Wizards coach made the case it was a small sample size and one that couldn't provide a definitive judgment of his tenure. Regardless, it's now over and the Wizards are hoping the needed shakeup they have undergone will produce better results moving forward.