John Wall

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Draft Lottery, Wall, Beal

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks will return next season, general manager Tommy Sheppard said on Wednesday, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post.

Brooks and the Wizards were invited down to the bubble in Orlando, Fla. but did not fare well, losing seven out of eight contests. However, Washington was without John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Dāvis Bertāns. They did see the continued development of second-year forward Troy Brown Jr. and rookie forward Rui Hachimura.

Despite the Wizards’ losses at the Walt Disney World campus and their overall record of 25-47, Sheppard was content with the job that Brooks did with the young squad. “Scottie did a heck of a job adjusting each year to what was in front of him,” he said. “I think this year, in particular, it really felt like we had dang near three seasons worth of time. And all these young players this year got better in their own way. And I think next year, we’ll see the benefits of all that.”

Here are more notes on D.C.’s basketball team:

  • Because the NBA locked in lottery spots for the eight teams not invited to Orlando, the Wizards have the ninth-best lottery odds despite having the eighth-worst record in the NBA. But Sheppard believes playing in the restart was worth it, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “We had a lot of young players, we know we’re going to add another player if it was the ninth pick, the 15th pick; whatever,” he said. “We like 15 players [in this draft]. The benefit of having players play in that situation, in that environment, far outweighed anything else we could mess with.” Sheppard added that if the Wizards somehow made the playoffs, he would’ve been okay with them getting the No. 15 overall pick.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington wrote about how the Wizards could opt to select a guard in October’s NBA draft, despite having Wall and Beal. Sheppard said the team may prioritize talent over fit, which might end up being a guard. “Need is always something that you’ve gotta focus on, certainly. But as you go through the draft, if there’s a player there where you say ‘Look, the talent is too good, too great to pass on,’ then you still have free agency to address that need.” In ESPN’s latest mock draft (Insider link), they have the Wiz taking former Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton.
  • On Tuesday, Brooks gave an injury update on the statuses of Wall and Beal. He said that the 30-year-old Wall is 100% healthy following his torn Achilles, and that he and Sheppard plan on visiting him this offseason in Miami. In regards to Beal, who is recovering from a sore rotator cuff, Brooks said that rehab is going well. This season, the 27-year-old Beal averaged 30.5 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Nunn, Warren, Micic

Wizards point guard John Wall expects to have a different role in the team’s offense once he rejoins Washington, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Wall has missed the entire 2019/20 season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

“My game is going to be totally different than what it was before because now with the way [Bradley Beal] can handle the ball,” Wall said of his Wizards teammate. “I can be off the ball a little bit and score from the wing and score in transition by running the wing.”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Haynes’ Latest: Ariza, Blazers, Wizards, Beal, Wall

When Trevor Ariza decided to opt out of the NBA’s restart, he did so because a one-month visitation period with his son overlapped with the Trail Blazers‘ summer schedule. However, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports, Ariza’s visitation period was later amended to conclude near the start of August, prompting members of the Blazers to explore the possibility of bringing the veteran forward to the NBA’s Orlando campus.

Unfortunately, the idea was a non-starter, per Haynes, who hears from sources that the Trail Blazers would have to previously apply for a hardship waiver or late-arrival form for Ariza. Even if the team had done so, the NBA would likely have denied any request to clear Ariza, since he voluntarily opted out, wasn’t included on Portland’s restart roster, didn’t travel with the team to Orlando on July 9, and was replaced by substitute player Jaylen Adams.

According to Haynes, the idea of getting Ariza to Orlando was explored in mid-July when players like Zion Williamson and Montrezl Harrell left the NBA’s campus to address family matters. Players within the Trail Blazers organization were “upset” with the outcome of their efforts, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits included in Haynes’ latest article from Orlando:

  • Despite the fact that the Trail Blazers still have an uphill battle to earn a playoff spot in the West, Damian Lillard tells Haynes that he packed for a three-month stay in Orlando and remains confident that Portland can claim the No. 8 seed. “We came here thinking 6-2, or 7-1 and that would get us in there,” Lillard said. “That’s where our heads are at and we can still do that.”
  • Although Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Davis Bertans aren’t with the Wizards in Orlando, they’re watching practices and continue to participate in team meetings, sources tell Haynes. The team has set up live streams of practices and meetings for players and staff who aren’t on the Orlando campus, Haynes notes.
  • According to Haynes, Beal has made an effort to check in with Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard anytime he misses a meeting or practice in order to catch up. Both Wall and Beal have “been in the ears” of Washington’s young players during the restart, Haynes adds.

Wizards Notes: Restart, Schofield, Wall, Wade

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard vows that the team is focused on making the playoffs despite key players missing the restart in Orlando, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

“Certainly, we’re going there to win games,” he said. “We’re trying to make the playoffs. That’s 100 percent our goal.”

There has been speculation that Wizards would treat their eight “seeding” games as a de facto Summer League. Forward Davis Bertans, a free agent after the season, has chosen to sit out. Star guard John Wall will wait until next season to return from his Achilles injury. Washington trails Brooklyn by six games and Orlando by 5.5 games and needs to pull within four games of one of those teams to force a play-in round for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Rookie Admiral Schofield is expected to have an expanded role in Orlando with Bertans choosing not to play, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets“There’s going to be an opportunity at some point for Admiral to show what he can do,” Sheppard said. Schofield has appeared in 27 games, averaging 3.1 PPG in 10.9 MPG.
  • Wall will stay in Miami while the Wizards are in Orlando to work with some coaches that won’t be in the bubble, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets. The lack of practices during the stoppage of play cost Wall the basketball ramp-up timing he’d been gaining in workouts, according to Sheppard.
  • Washington had some interest in signing power forward Dean Wade, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Wade agreed to a four-year contract with Cleveland on Monday.

Southeast Notes: Wall, Magic, Batum, Hornets

John Wall was feeling like his old self again before the NBA’s hiatus forced him to curtail his workouts, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The five-time All-Star, who has missed the entire season after a ruptured Achilles and surgery to remove a bone spur, was playing three-on-three games with teammates during the Wizards‘ last road trip before the shutdown.

“I was out there dunking, crossing over, getting to the rim, doing stuff I was doing before. And I was like, damn, I still got, like, 15 pounds to get off of before I start playing next season. And I’m like, OK, I got six or seven months to get better,” Wall said. “So, I was gonna do nothing but get stronger, get more rhythm, get more in sync with everything.”

Wall has a gym in his Miami home, but he has been limited to half-court workouts with no competition. He won’t take the court when Washington resumes the season in Orlando, but said the discomfort he used to feel every day is gone. The focus all year has been getting ready for next season.

“When I get back to getting on the court when things open up, I’m not rushing anything,” Wall said. “I’m easing my way into it, because I know I can’t just jump back out there. That’s how you end up getting yourself hurt. … It’s gonna take me time to be patient with it. It’s frustrating because you already got a rhythm. You already was like — I was having fun. I was in a rhythm, having fun. It was just dope to be hooping.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • A pair of games with the Nets will go a long way toward determining whether the Magic can overtake Brooklyn for the seventh seed and avoid a daunting first-round match-up with Milwaukee, observes Josh Robbins of The Athletic“I think what’s going to help us the most is just being in better shape than the guys we’re going to play against,” Evan Fournier said. “I think that’s what it’s going to come down to. How fast can you get in shape? And how fast can you get together as a team? That’s what’s going to make the difference.”
  • The Hornets will be one of the few teams with cap space this offseason, but GM Mitch Kupchak doesn’t plan to make a major move in free agency until next year, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. That means Nicolas Batum will likely finish out his contract in Charlotte unless Kupchak can find a way to trade him without taking back any future guaranteed money.
  • Even though Devonte’ Graham had a breakthrough season and Terry Rozier is under contract for two more years, the Hornets won’t hesitate to take another point guard in a draft that is loaded with them, Bonnell adds in the same piece.

John Wall Talks Restart, Cousins, Olympics, More

Wizards guard John Wall believes Kyrie Irving has raised some reasonable concerns as NBA players weigh the league’s restart plan this summer. Appearing on The Tuff Juice Podcast with Caron Butler, Wall suggested that he’d have reservations about playing in Orlando even if he were healthy enough to do so.

“For me, if I was playing, I wouldn’t want to go to it, to be honest,” Wall said, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I just don’t feel like it’s safe. I just don’t feel like it is. I understand why they want to do it and what they’re trying to get to, but I wouldn’t want to.”

The Wizards are currently 5.5 games back of a playoff spot and would only force a play-in tournament if they can pull to within four games of either the Magic or the Nets. Even then, Washington would have to win two consecutive games in a play-in tournament in order to claim the No. 8 seed, which Wall seemed to acknowledge will be an uphill battle.

“If I was healthy enough to play, I wouldn’t want to go play,” he said, according to Hughes. “What am I going, just to play eight games? I’m not going for just eight games and then coming back home.”

While it may be somewhat cynical to point out, it’s worth noting that players like Irving and Wall might be more comfortable taking a stand on the issue when injuries will rule them out anyway. If they were fully healthy, it’s possible they’d feel extra pressure not to let down teammates by sitting out.

Here’s more from Wall:

  • In an Instagram Live interview with Marc Spears of The Undefeated on Wednesday, Wall said he’s still encouraging the Wizards to sign his good friend and former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins. “Oh man, you know I’m trying to push for that,” Wall said (hat tip to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). “I’ve been on that for like five years. I want to sign him right now.”
  • Wall said that he and GM Tommy Sheppard have discussed the possibility of signing Cousins “here and there,” admitting that it might make sense for the big man to wait until next year to return — like Wall is doing. Cousins is recovering from a torn ACL.
  • During that same interview with Spears, Wall said that he’d like to play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics next summer, and has conveyed his interest to USA Basketball (Twitter link via Hughes). The Wizards’ point guard wasn’t one of 44 preliminary Team USA finalists announced in February, but could become a more viable candidate now that the event has been pushed back a year.
  • Wall also discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and other social-justice issues in an interesting conversation with Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Wizards Notes: Wall, Beal, Monumental Sports

Wizards point guard John Wall won’t return to the court this summer when the 2019/20 season resumes, but the teammates who got a look at the rehabbing star when he played five-on-five scrimmages this winter are enthusiastic about his progress, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details.

Appearing on Chris Miller’s Wizards Talk podcast, Isaac Bonga suggested that fans and outside observers may be underestimating Wall’s potential impact once he’s ready to return in 2020/21.

“I think people don’t get how still crazy-good John is right now,” Bonga said. “People don’t get it. People don’t get it. Seeing John… with us and (with) G-League (players). It’s like, man, he cannot wait. He legit can’t wait to be back out there. That’s what he (was) showing every day out there. It’s crazy.”

During Wall’s lengthy absence, Bradley Beal has taken his game to a next level, increasing his scoring average to an impressive 30.5 PPG in 2019/20. Bonga told Miller that he’s excited to see the Wizards’ starting backcourt at full strength again next season: “Having those two back out there together again? It’s going to be a big problem.”

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • A new round of Bradley Beal-related trade rumors surfaced this week, but they’re more of the same, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, who suggests that the Wizards can’t do much but continue to laugh them off. While Hughes acknowledges that the team’s – or Beal’s – stance could change at some point, he thinks the All-Star’s future probably “isn’t worth circling back to” until after next season.
  • Monumental Sports, the company that owns the Wizards, announced this week that employees earning more than $75K will have their pay checks reduced by 20% between July 12 and the end of the year. The decision doesn’t affect NBA players or contract employees, but figures to impact some people in the Wizards’ organization. Samantha Pell of The Washington Post has the story.
  • In case you missed it, we asked in a poll earlier this week whether the Wizards will steal the No. 8 seed from Orlando or Brooklyn this summer. The consensus? Probably not.

John Wall Remains Unlikely To Return This Season

The Wizards‘ season will continue as they are one of 22 teams to head to Orlando to finish out the 2019/20 campaign. The club will play eight more games with the hope of sneaking into the postseason for more.

If they achieve that goal, they’ll almost certainly do so without the services of John Wall. Though, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link), some Eastern Conference teams heading to Orlando are preparing as if Wall will return to the court. Perhaps rival clubs are simply leaving no stone unturned in their pre-return scouting.

Last week, during a Zoom call with the local media, including Hoops Rumors,  Wall claimed he was “110 percent” but wouldn’t commit to making the potential trip to Orlando with his team let alone suiting up and joining them on the court.

The message out of the Wizards’ organization has been pretty consistent all season: they are taking the most patient approach with regard to getting Wall back up to speed. That means the 2020/21 season will be the next time we see the former No. 1 overall pick.

Bradley Beal: Trade Rumors “A Sign Of Respect”

Despite the fact that Bradley Beal signed a contract extension with the Wizards last fall and remains locked up through at least 2022, he continues to be the subject of trade rumors and speculation. Most recently, a New York Daily News report indicated the Nets were having internal discussions about potential avenues of acquiring Beal.

That Daily News report included the caveat that the Wizards are likely uninterested in trading their All-Star guard. Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein subsequently shot down the idea as well. Speaking to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, Beal chose to view those rumors in a positive light, even as he downplayed them too.

“To me, I look at it as a sign of respect, that I’ve been doing good things and guys want to play with me,” Beal said. “That’s an unbelievable feeling. When you hear that Kyrie (Irving) and KD (Kevin Durant) want you, s–t, that’s amazing. At the same time, you don’t know how much there is to it, or how easy it would be to do. And I’ve put down roots in D.C. I’ve dedicated myself to this town, this community. I love it here, and it would feel great to know I could grind out winning here instead of jumping to another team.”

Beal did admit that he sometimes can’t help but think about different possibilities when he hears his name mentioned in trade rumors. However, he stressed that he has no desire to leave D.C. at this time — especially with fellow backcourt star John Wall set to be back at full strength for the start of the 2020/21 season after more than a year on the shelf with heel and Achilles injuries.

[RELATED: John Wall Declares Himself “110%” Healthy]

“My biggest thing right now is that I want to play with John again,” Beal said. “I want to see him get back to that level where I know he can be, especially since my game has grown so much (while he’s been out). What can we accomplish together? I’m so happy he’s healthy, working his tail off.”

John Wall Declares Himself “110” Percent Healthy

Wizards guard John Wall hasn’t played in a game since December of 2018, but the former No. 1 overall pick has declared himself “110 percent” healthy, as he told local media, including Hoops Rumors, via a Zoom conference call today.

“I’m itching to get back out there,” said Wall (as I relayed on Twitter). The 29-year-old added that he’s still taking his time with rehab and getting himself into the “best possible shape.”

Wall, who launched a rent-assistance foundation which will help those impacted by COVID-19 in Southeast D.C., won’t return to the court this year regardless of how the league returns from hiatus. It’s not certain that he would even travel with the Wizards to Orlando if the team is invited to join a campus-like bubble at Walt Disney World. The five-time All-Star believes that the league will return in a safe-manner and if that can’t be assured, they will “stop the season and prepare for next year.”

Wall underwent surgery on his heel back in the 2018/19 season. He was expected to come back at some point during that campaign. However, he slipped and fell in February of 2019 while recovering and he ruptured his Achilles, which forced him to go under the knife yet again.

Things will be different from an on-court perspective once the nine-year veteran returns next season. The Wizards have gotten younger and running mate Bradley Beal has turned into a more complete star after being given the opportunity to run the show.

“I’m just focused on getting back out there and watching how Brad has developed, how our team has developed,” Wall said. “We have made changes in the organization to prepare ourselves for next season and see what we can do.”

Wall has three years left on his contract after this season, including a $47.37MM player option for the 2022/23 campaign. Beal’s deal runs concurrently with Wall’s and includes a player option for that same season. Washington remains committed to the Wall-Beal combo as the future of the franchise.