If you thought the NBA’s silly season would take a holiday in an unconventional offseason, that memo did not reach John Wall.
Wall apparently wants out of Washington, requesting a trade in the wake of the rumors surrounding discussions of a swap involving himself and Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook — who also has asked out of his current situation.
That makes three All-Star guards looking for a change of address if you include Westbrook’s teammate, 2017-18 MVP James Harden. Wall has played just 73 games in the last three years, missing the entire 2019-20 season after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in February 2019.
The Wizards have been building more around Wall’s backcourt mate Bradley Beal in the wake of his injuries, with many believing that’s what set Wall off. In the days leading to the draft, teams like the Denver Nuggets were inquiring about Beal, according to multiple league sources.
Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said as much to ESPN’s Zach Lowe on Lowe’s podcast recently, then reiterated it on a Washington, D.C., radio station, saying, “John didn’t ask to be injured, but the NBA marches on.”
The Wizards had been staunch in letting other teams know Beal was not available. It’s a reversal from the days where Wall said Beal, who arrived in D.C. two years after Wall, was his “sidekick.”
According to a league source, this was inevitable.
“As soon as Tommy said it was Brad’s team, you knew it was coming,” the source told Yahoo Sports.
It won’t be easy to move Wall, even if the Wizards are motivated to do so. He’s owed $131.5 million over the next three seasons, along with a 15% trade kicker. Wall turned 30 in September and has been a mainstay for a Wizards team that has never turned the corner in the East, coming within a game of the conference finals in 2017.
He may have to play his way out of D.C., considering his salary and his health. He plays at the league’s deepest position and it’s unknown whether Wall has regained his trademark quickness after his myriad injuries.
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