Although John Wall has left the door open for the possibility of a return to the court before the 2019/20 season ends, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard essentially closed that door this week, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Having mentioned that Bradley Beal‘s life will be easier when Wall returns “next year,” Sheppard was asked for a follow-up and explained that the team doesn’t expect its starting point guard back until next season.
“I think we have maintained that all along. We didn’t plan on seeing him this year,” Sheppard said. “I think that’s fair to John, to manage the expectations for him. He’s on his way, but he’s not there and he’s not close yet. He’s a lot closer than he was a year ago when the injury happened.”
Given the Wizards’ 17-32 record, it makes sense that the team will be cautious with their star point guard and give him a few extra months to get to 100%. When he spoke to Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington about visualizing his first game back, Wall talked as if he’s targeting opening night in 2020/21.
“I’ve gotta be honest with you, if our first game isn’t in D.C. then I probably won’t play,” Wall joked. “Just to be realistic. I’m going to try to force the NBA for my first game to be at home next season.”
Let’s round up a few more Wizards notes…
- Sheppard said on Thursday that almost every playoff team in both conferences inquired on Davis Bertans, Hughes writes for NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards hung onto Bertans and will aim to re-sign him this summer. “There was never a doubt in my mind that we wanted to keep him,” Sheppard said. “But I promise you that the more you say you want to keep somebody, the more teams don’t want to believe you and they keep calling.”
- Jerome Robinson hasn’t made major strides during his first two NBA seasons, but the Wizards liked him in the 2018 draft and are confident in a player development program that has had success with other young players like Moritz Wagner, says Fred Katz of The Athletic. Washington acquired Robinson from the Clippers in one of the team’s two deadline-day deals.
- Within that same story, Katz passes along word that the Wizards haven’t discussed a possible buyout with center Ian Mahinmi, who is on an expiring contract. “We’re obviously always open to anything that makes us better. But I wouldn’t even go down that road right now,” Sheppard said of the possibility. “Ian has done a great job for us this year, and he’s been a great leader, great professional for us.”
- Katz confirms (via Twitter) that the Wizards acquired Shabazz Napier‘s contract in their trade with Denver using their disabled player exception. Washington was the only team to use a DPE at the deadline.