The Wizards have been shockingly bad this year, and ESPN reports that Washington may be prepared to clean house and start over.
NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski writes:
“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.”
The Wizards are 5-11, and sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. According to Wojnarowski, the team would prefer to keep the two together, but their recent performance is forcing them to consider other options.
Wall and Beal are putting up numbers similar to those they’ve recorded in seasons past. Wall has made five consecutive All-Star appearances, and Beal made his first last season. The diminishing impact of Otto Porter and other role-players has hurt. The two star guards alone lead the Wizards in four of the five major statistical categories. Wall leads the team in assists (7.9), steals (2) and blocks (1.1). Meanwhile, Beal leads the team in scoring, averaging 21.5 points per game.
A large part of the team’s struggles come on the defensive end. Washington is in the middle of the pack in points per game, but their defensive rating is second to last in the NBA. Only the Cavaliers are giving up more points per game than the Wizards. The team as a whole seems to be lacking effort.
“We got to just play with more enthusiasm, more effort, more energy,” coach Scott Brooks told reporters (via The Washington Post) after the Wizards’ loss to the Blazers on Sunday night. “It’s embarrassing.”
Opposing teams seem to be most interested in Beal, who is without a doubt one of the NBA’s best shot creators. His name has been linked to the Lakers since their outside shooting woes were exposed. Los Angeles has a few tantalizing building blocks who could help the Wizards in the future.
Wall on the other hand has one of the worst contracts in basketball. His recent extension goes through the 2022-23 season, when he is due to be paid nearly $47 million. He’s a top talent now, but he’s likely reached his ceiling. That’s a hefty price to pay a 32-year-old point guard with minimal playoff success.
Either way, this surprising storyline will garner the attention of fans and suitors alike. If Washington doesn’t find a rhythm soon, it may have to scrap its operation earlier than expected.