John Wall

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wall, McRae, Sheppard

The Wizards need to figure out the source of Bradley Beal‘s frustration and address it right away, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. Beal lashed out at the team’s “culture” after a tough loss Wednesday in Chicago and said he was frustrated to keep seeing “winnable games” slip away. A source tells Aldridge it was the angriest he has seen Beal since he came to Washington in 2012.

Aldridge notes that the organization went through a major culture change during the offseason, possibly sparked by a similar tirade from Beal last year. Tommy Sheppard replaced Ernie Grunfeld as general manager and upgraded the Wizards’ development staff and pro personnel office. The team now values analytics and second-round draft picks and has a direct relationship with its G League affiliate.

With those changes in place, Aldridge suggests that Beal is now upset about the culture inside the locker room, specifically a lax approach to defense. Whatever the issue is, Aldridge notes that Beal has plenty of close friends around the league who would love to play alongside him. He signed a two-year extension in October, but could start looking for a way out if things don’t improve next season.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • John Wall participated in a “controlled” four-on-four scrimmage with teammates at today’s practice, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. It’s a step up for Wall, who had been playing four-on-four with the player development staff. He has also taken part in three-on-two and two-on-one drills with other Wizards players, said coach Scott Brooks (Twitter link), who added that he still isn’t sure if Wall will try to return this season.
  • Jordan McRae‘s ankle injury appears less serious than the Wizards originally feared, Katz adds (Twitter link). McRae was in a walking boot after Friday’s game, but he was able to practice today as a limited participant.
  • Sheppard is restoring fans’ faith in the front office with a series of successful moves, observes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. First-round pick Rui Hachimura looked like a solid NBA player before his injury, while Davis Bertans, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga were all acquired for virtually nothing in return. Sheppard also opted to sign Ish Smith instead of giving a big contract to Tomas Satoransky, and has gotten good production from Garrison MathewsAnzejs Pasecniks and Gary Payton II.

Eastern Notes: Kornet, Morris, Pasecniks, Wall

The Bulls are trying to get by in the middle with rookie Daniel Gafford and Luke Kornet until Wendell Carter Jr. returns, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times relays. Carter is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.

The Bulls used their room exception to sign Kornet to a two-year, $4.5MM contract during the offseason but he’s only appeared in 20 games this season, averaging 3.2 PPG in 9.7 MPG. He had 15 points against Detroit on Saturday but went scoreless against Boston on Monday.

‘‘[Kornet] was just waiting for his time to come back and show what he can do, and that’s what he did [Saturday],’’ Gafford said of his Bulls teammate.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks are leaning toward retaining forward Marcus Morris, who will be a free agent again after the season, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Morris, who will miss his fifth straight game Tuesday against the Bucks with a neck injury, may not be dealt unless they get back a star-quality player in a large package, Berman continues. Several playoff teams are interested in Morris, Berman adds, but the Knicks would prefer to preserve their 2020 or 2021 cap space in any deal.
  • The Wizards used part of their mid-level exception to convert center Anzejs Pasecniks‘ contract from a two-way deal to a standard one, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Pasecniks was signed to a multi-year pact on Sunday. The Wizards will take a $482K cap hit this year. Pasecniks has a $250K guarantee on his $1.52MM salary for the 2020/21 season. The contract for next season becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through July 8, Katz continues. His $1.78MM salary for 2021/22 is non-guaranteed, Katz adds.
  • Wizards GM Tommy Shephard reiterated that point guard John Wall will not return this season unless he’s completely healthy, Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington writes. Wall has been participated in 3-on-3 drills with members of the player development staff. “We’re not going to skip steps, we’re not going to get excited about 3-on-3,” Sheppard said. “Down the road, I think we’ll start to add more players to the court and make it feel more like home, but we’re not in a rush to see John come back unless he’s 100 percent healthy.”

Wizards Notes: Mathews, Wall, Payton, Bertans

Wizards rookie wing Garrison Mathews will miss multiple weeks with a right ankle sprain, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Mathews, who is on a two-way contract, rolled his ankle when he stepped on Celtics forward Jayson Tatum‘s shoe. Mathews is averaging 6.2 PPG while shooting 42.9 % from long range.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Point guard John Wall is participating in three-on-three scrimmages against members of the player development staff, Hughes relays in a separate story. It’s another step in Wall’s recovery from a ruptured left Achilles tendon. He had recently progressed from running and dunking to one-on-one contact drills with coaches, Hughes adds. However, there’s no expectation Wall will play this season. “I don’t know if he’s going to play this year. I don’t know if he’s not going to play,” head coach Scott Brooks said.
  • Guard Gary Payton II has earned a spot in the rotation, Jackson Filyo of the team’s website notes. Payton was signed under the league’s hardship exception last month due to a wave of injuries. “I’ve been hungry ever since I got here,” Payton said. “In and out of the G League, trying to find somewhere to stick. I think these guys here appreciate what I do and value what I do, so I go to bat for them every day.” In his first nine games with Washington, Payton is averaging 5.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.0 APG and 2.3 SPG in 23.6 MPG.
  • Davis Bertans returned to action on Friday with a minutes restriction, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. The stretch four was out for nine games with a quad injury. Bertans, who has an expiring $7MM contract, is averaging 15.4 PPG while making 43.2% of his 3-point attempts.

Wizards Notes: Hachimura, Thomas, Draft, Wall

Rui Hachimura will be re-evaluated in about two weeks as he recovers from “a minor procedure” following a groin injury in a December 16 game, the Wizards announced in a press release. This is the first time the organization has acknowledged that Hachimura underwent a medical procedure, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

The rookie forward met with reporters prior to tonight’s game to provide an update on his condition. The injury resulted from an accidental kick by Isaac Bonga, and Hachimura said he forgave his teammate right away (Twitter link).

“He’s a good kid. It was an accident, you know,” he said. “I saw the video a couple times too. It was like, kind of — I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain but I think he felt bad too. He texted me right after.”

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • Isaiah Thomas was fined $25K for making contact with an official in last night’s game, the league announced on Twitter. Thomas, who was ejected, insisted today that it was an accident, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. He explained that he lost his balance after being pushed in the back. “It was unintentional contact,” Thomas said. “Most importantly I would like to move on from it but I definitely didn’t mean to put my hand on a ref.” (Twitter link)
  • With the Wizards likely headed for the lottery again, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington takes an early look at the draft. He considers former Memphis center James Wiseman the best fit and wonders how the team would handle a guard-heavy draft after making major investments in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Hughes adds that Washington has moved some of its scouting resources to watch LaMelo Ball in Australia and R.J. Hampton in New Zealand.
  • In a separate story, coach Scott Brooks tells Hughes that Wall is filling a valuable role as an unofficial assistant coach as he recovers from injury, but is eager to start playing again. “It hurts John not to be out on the court playing. That guy’s a competitor,” Brooks said. “(When you’re out with an injury), you appreciate it more. I hate to say it, especially with the year we’ve had, injuries can happen with the next play. You don’t really know what’s going to happen, so you play your best on every play. When it’s taken away from you, it bothers you.”

Brooks: Wall Not Necessarily Done For Season

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has not completely ruled out the possibility of injured former All-Star point guard John Wall returning during the 2019/20 NBA season, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

“It’s not like we’re shutting him down and focusing on the 2020/2021 season,” Brooks said, per Buckner. Brooks noted (Twitter link) that Wall has been practicing one-on-one against Wizards assistant coaches.

“It’s going to happen organically,” Brooks said when discussing Wall’s actual return timeline. “He’s getting after every workout.”

Wall tore his Achilles at his home in January while recovering from a heel injury. He has not played an NBA game since December 26, 2018. Injuries have been a persistent problem for the five-time All-Star, who was drafted No. 1 in 2010.

Wall suited up for just 41 games during the 2017/18 season due to a nagging knee issue that required surgery. He was only available for 32 games the next year, 2018/19, before incurring the heel and Achilles injuries. He has missed 26 games and counting in 2019/20 with the same injury. The 29-year-old point guard is in the first season of a four-year, $171.1MM contract extension.

Isaiah Thomas, on a one-year, $2.3MM veteran’s minimum salary, is currently revitalizing his career as the Wizards’ starting point guard in Wall’s stead. Before tonight’s 110-109 loss to the Bulls (in which he scored 16 points), Thomas was averaging 13.2 PPG and 5.1 APG in just 24.9 MPG, while shooting 43.3% from deep and 46.2% from the field.

Wizards Notes: Thomas, Wall, Hachimura

Isaiah Thomas is ready to return to Boston as an opposing starter for the first time since the club traded him away.“They’re gonna cheer. They’re definitely not gonna boo,” Thomas said (via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports). “I love them just as much as they do.”

Thomas, who has started the past three games for the Wizards, earned All-NBA honors as a member of the Celtics prior to the franchise trading him to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving deal. The point guard is looking forward to the matchup in Boston — and showing his old franchise that he still has it.

“I visualize going for 50 on them. That’s the plan and to win the game. But I hope that night is not about me and it takes away from what this team is all about,” said Thomas.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Thomas, who signed a one-year deal with the Wizards this past offseason, believes he can still reach his previous heights, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post writes. “I’m going to be an All-Star again, for sure,” Thomas said. “I know that for a fact.” Thomas has made two All-Star appearances in his career.
  • John Wall isn’t pleased with FS1’s Nick Wright comparing him to Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams, as the point guard took to social media to sarcastically call Wright a “funny guy.” Wright called Wall and Goff the “anchor(s)” around their franchise’s necks “that brings them to mediocrity.”
  • Rookie Rui Hachimura recently sat down with Joe Heim of The Washington Post to his transition to the NBA among other topics. The Japanese-born forward spoke about what surprised him in making the leap to the Wizards. “Maybe that the organization is very big, and a lot of kind people work for this team. The facility is very nice, and everything is top-level,” Hachimura said.

Wizards Notes: Offense, Bertans, Beal, Wall

The Wizards are shooting more three-pointers than ever before, as I recently detailed on NBAMath. In fact, every Wizards’ rotation player is experiencing a career-high in three-pointers shot per game.

Washington is currently 1-4 on the year but the team’s offensive efficiency ranks sixth in the league. That’s an improvement on last season, when the Wizards were league average in the stat. The offseason of change in the nation’s capital has led to improvement on at least one side of the ball. Now, the defense is a story for another day.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post examines the Moritz Wagner and Davis Bertans pairing. The duo came to the Wizards in separate trades this offseason.
  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis insists that Bradley Beal and John Wall have a better relationship than various reports over the years have suggested, as Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports relays. “Brad and John are way closer than the media portrays,” Leonsis said on The Habershow podcast. “They are also deeply immersed in the culture of the NBA and history of the NBA. Having a great backcourt is priority one and why would you want to, if you’re a great player, be a sidekick, if you will. And is that leading to happiness? I mean that’s the amazing thing that you see. You’ve never seen as many unhappy people as you’re seeing in the NBA.”
  • Beal recently signed an extension to stay with the Wizards for two additional years. Leonsis is happy with the new deal and talked about how he couldn’t understand why top players would go somewhere where they are not a top option. “If you get a young player and they’re a part of building your culture and the team, the culture really becomes theirs,” Leonsis said. “That’s the key thing and so if you’re gifted, and you’re gonna get paid in the NBA, why go play and be the third wheel? It’s counter-intuitive to me. Like, it’s LeBron’s team in LA. How’d it go last year? Did anyone look happy in L.A.? So Brad and John and the players here, they’re a part of something and it’s gonna be really, really hard. But [they’re] in it together.”

Wizards Notes: Brown Jr., Analytics, Wall

Troy Brown Jr. will make his season debut for the Wizards on Wednesday against the Rockets, as Candace Buckner of the Washington Post relays (Twitter link).

“I’m just happy to be back,” Brown said. “It’s just a good feeling, especially sitting out all that time and just being able to see how well we’ve been playing and just enjoying that mix of how good we’re doing right now.”

It’s unclear if Brown will start the Wizards’ home opener but it would be surprising if the second-year wing doesn’t eventually earn the nod. Here’s more from Washington:

  • Fred Katz of The Athletic details how the Wizards are using statistician Dean Oliver this season. Oliver, who formally worked in several NBA offices, was hired as an assistant coach by Washington this offseason.
  • Offseason addition C.J. Miles has about 1-2 weeks to go before he returns to the court, Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan passes along (Twitter link). Miles came to Washington in the Dwight Howard trade.
  • John Wall was seen at Wizards‘ practice running and taking part in individual drills, as Chase Hughes of NBCSports tweets. The Wizards were recently denied a disabled player exception by the league for Wall’s injuries.

Southeast Notes: Augustin, Thomas, Waiters, Wall

Magic point guard D.J. Augustin plans to play until he’s 35 or 36, as he told Sean Deveney of Forbes.com. Given that Augustin turns 32 next month, that would mean another three or four seasons in the league. Augustin began this season as the Magic’s starter at the point, though the team hopes that Markelle Fultz eventually emerges in that role. Augustin, an unrestricted free agent next summer, averaged 11.7 PPG and 5.3 APG last season while making 42.1% of his 3-pointers.

“I have sacrificed a lot, I am away from my kids a lot. They’re getting older,” the Magic point guard said. “I think 35, 36 would be a good age for me to be done and just spend time with them and be more involved with their lives.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Isaiah Thomas showed flashes of his former MVP self in his Wizards’ debut on Saturday night, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes. He had 16 points, five assists and three rebounds in less than 20 minutes after recovering from a thumb injury. Thomas joined the Wizards on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal after a forgettable season with the Nuggets. “There’s going to be some bad days. There’s going to be some good days,” he said. “But I’m going to be even keel throughout the process knowing that if I keep taking steps forward, I’m going to get closer to where I was and hopefully surpass that.”
  • It will interesting to see if the chemistry the Heat have forged thus far will be disrupted by the returns of Dion Waiters and James Johnson, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. The shooting of Waiters and defense of Johnson can still help the team, though it played with a sense of togetherness in a win over the Bucks on Saturday, Winderman adds. Both are signed through the 2020/21 season, though Johnson has a player option.
  • Wizards point guard John Wall and Adidas are negotiating a buyout on his five-year footwear and apparel endorsement contract less than two years into the agreement, ESPN’s Nick DePaula reports. Wall, who is expected to miss the season as he recovers from an Achilles tear, was due to make nearly $25MM on the endorsement contract.

Wizards Denied Disabled Player Exception For John Wall

The Wizards request for a disabled player exception for injured All-Star point guard John Wall has been denied, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (via Twitter).

As both Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington and Bobby Marks of ESPN note (via Twitter), the denial does not come as a surprise, as Washington had to show that Wall would be out of action until June 15, 2020, 16 months after surgery, for an injury that generally has an 11-15 month recovery time.

Meanwhile, Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link) adds that the NBA’s denial of the Wizards’ request isn’t that big of a deal, tweeting that the team’s proximity to the tax likely would have prevented them from using the $9.258MM exception anyway.

Moreover, Katz opines (via Twitter) that it would have probably been more concerning had the DPE been granted because it would’ve meant that an independent physician determined Wall’s injury would sideline him for 16 months, begging the question as to the severity of the injury itself.