John Wall

Pistons Made Exploratory Call About Potential Griffin/Wall Trade

The Pistons made an exploratory call to the Wizards in recent weeks to ask about the possibility of a trade involving Blake Griffin and John Wall, sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN.

However, Detroit’s level of interest in that sort of deal is unclear, according to Lowe, who says that conversations didn’t go anywhere.

Lowe speculates that the Pistons likely would’ve wanted extra assets in any swap involving the two former All-Stars, since the team values Griffin. Plus, Wall has an extra year left on his slightly-pricier contract. He’s due about $133MM over the next three years, while Griffin “only” has about $75.8MM left over two years.

While a deal between the two teams would be an interesting one, it doesn’t appear to have any momentum, and the Wizards don’t seem to be actively exploring the market for Wall. A report last week indicated that former No. 1 overall pick had made it clear he wants to be traded out of Washington, but general manager Tommy Sheppard denied on Monday that Wall had asked him for a trade, and said the team has no plans to move its starting point guard.

Fred Katz of The Athletic wonders if the Wizards will take a similar approach to Wall that the Thunder did last year with Chris Paul. Oklahoma City would’ve had a tough time getting any positive value for Paul in 2019, but after he rebuilt his value with a strong ’19/20 performance, teams were more willing to roll the dice on him, particularly with just two years left on his oversized contract. If Wall comes back strong in ’20/21, it may increase the odds of an eventual deal.

For what it’s worth, Wall was asked at a community event on Tuesday if he had requested a trade and replied, “No comment” (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).

Southeast Notes: Hayward, Bryant, Wall, Heat

The Hornets made one of the biggest and most controversial splashes in free agency, signing injury-prone forward Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120MM contract. Due to injuries and the development of his Boston teammates, Hayward was never able to return to his All-Star form while with the Celtics.

Although the Hornets’ $120MM commitment to Hayward is widely viewed as an overpay, it didn’t come out of left field. In today’s edition of The Lowe Post podcast, Zach Lowe of ESPN suggests that the Hornets’ offer to Hayward was not significantly higher than that of some competing clubs hoping for his services in free agency.

“You want to clown the contract?” Lowe said (per RealGM). “That’s fine. Just know it’s not like the Pacers and the Celtics were offering $80MM. They weren’t offering $120MM. But my best intel is something like $105MM, $108MM, $102MM, $110MM.”

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer examines Hayward’s fit with the Hornets, conceding that the deal is probably an overpay. However, he also contends that Hayward can supply veteran leadership to the Hornets’ young core while being by far their best player, if healthy. Hayward will be leaned on to supply multifaceted scoring and is an expert play-maker. He also will be able to convincingly slot into the lineup at small forward, power forward, and even shooting guard.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
  • Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said today that the team informed every center it spoke to in free agency that Thomas Bryant would remain the Wizards’ starter, according to Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). “Certainly probably rubbed some guys the wrong way who thought they could come in here and start,” Sheppard said. The club ultimately signed Robin Lopez to back up Bryant.
  • Beyond the churning NBA rumor mill, Wizards point guard John Wall has remained active during the offseason. Wall will purchase an ownership stake in the Australian NBL club the South East Melbourne Phoenix, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Los Angeles entrepreneur Romie Chaudhari heads the ownership group for the Phoenix, which also includes and Cavaliers reserve guard Dante Exum, plus retired big men Zach Randolph and Al Harrington and retired swingman Josh Childress.
  • Point guard Goran Dragic and backup center Meyers Leonard are excited to return to the Heat, according to Joe Beguiristain of Heat.com. Miami prioritized re-signing both players to lucrative two-year contracts with team options for the second year. “When free agency hit, we pretty much made our quick deal,” Dragic commented. “First of all, it felt like there was unfinished business for our team and for me because, obviously, going through the ankle injury was not easy, and I feel like I could have helped in many different ways,” Leonard said.

Wizards’ GM: No Plans To Trade John Wall

Speaking to reporters today on a conference call, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said the team has no plans to trade point guard John Wall (Twitter link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN).

Sheppard, who said he was just watching Wall work out this morning, told the media that – with Wall and Bradley Beal set to play together for the first time since 2018 – it’s a new chapter for the Wizards’ two star guards, rather than a “sequel.”

I can’t wait to see those two together,” he added (Twitter link via Youngmisuk).

A report last week indicated that Wall had made it clear he wants to be traded out of Washington. However, Sheppard, who said that he and Wall speak every other day, said the five-time All-Star has never asked him per a trade, per Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link).

There’s no issue with John and I, with John and the Wizards,” Sheppard said (Twitter link via Youngmisuk).

Even if Wall does want to be dealt, he has little leverage to force the issue. With three years and $133MM left on his deal, the 30-year-old has one of the NBA’s least team-friendly contracts. He’s also spent nearly two full years rehabbing various injuries.

While Wall has apparently looked great in workouts, per Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), teams would be extremely wary about taking on that contract without having seen him play since 2018. In other words, it wouldn’t make sense for the Wizards to make a deal when Wall’s stock is so low.

The team plans to manage Wall’s workload this season, reducing his minutes and likely sitting him during one half of back-to-back sets.

With Wall and Beal reunited in the backcourt and Davis Bertans back in the fold, the Wizards hope to make it back to the postseason in 2021. The team also drafted Deni Avdija last week and signed veterans Robin Lopez and Raul Neto in free agency. Those newcomers will join a roster that also features Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown, and Thomas Bryant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Rumors: Millsap, Celtics, Hayward, Crowder

The Celtics are showing “strong interest” in signing veteran big man Paul Millsap, league sources tell Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears from his own source that Boston is currently at the top of Millsap’s list as he weighs his options. A decision is expected later today, Himmelsbach adds.

While the Celtics aren’t expected to create any cap room as a result of Gordon Hayward‘s departure, the team now has some added cap flexibility to make sign-and-trade and/or use its full mid-level exception, opening up a few options in free agency.

Here are a few more notes from around the East:

  • Speaking of Hayward, Hornets owner Michael Jordan called the veteran forward late last night in an effort to close the deal for Charlotte, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). Jordan’s pitch must have been effective, though the $120MM the Hornets will apparently pay Hayward over the next four years probably didn’t hurt either.
  • The Heat offered Jae Crowder a two-year deal that would have paid him $14MM in 2020/21, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). However, Miami wasn’t willing to guarantee any money beyond the first year, so Crowder opted for the Suns’ three-year, $30MM offer, which will pay him less in year one but is worth significantly more overall.
  • In a column for The Athletic, David Aldridge contends that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis must decide if the franchise wants to build around John Wall and Bradley Beal and then trade the odd man out. While Aldridge’s argument makes some sense, it seems obvious that Beal would be the team’s choice and that trading Wall won’t exactly be easy.

Eastern Notes: Hawks, Collins, Wall, Holiday, Pistons

The Hawks‘ deal with power forward Danilo Gallinari has raised some questions about John Collins‘ long-term fit in Atlanta. However, Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter) that the club is still hoping to get a rookie scale extension done with Collins this offseason. In other words, the addition of Gallinari doesn’t mean the Hawks don’t still consider Collins part of their future.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference on the first night of free agency:

  • In the wake of a report that Wizards point guard John Wall is seeking a trade out of Washington, Fred Katz of The Athletic notes (via Twitter) that Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington reported earlier this week that Wall was “surprised” to hear GM Tommy Sheppard say that the franchise was building around Bradley Beal. Even if Sheppard’s comment didn’t directly lead to Wall’s apparent trade request, the timing is interesting.
  • Aaron Holiday has drawn frequent trade interest over the last two years, but the Pacers remain high on the 24-year-old guard, per J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), who hears that Holiday is “safe.” Holiday’s name came up in trade rumors involving Boston earlier today.
  • The Pistons didn’t want to go as high as Houston was willing to in order to re-sign Christian Wood (nearly $14MM per year), which was way the team shifted its focus to Jerami Grant, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link).

John Wall Reportedly Seeking Trade Out Of Washington

Although talks between the Wizards and Rockets on a potential Russell Westbrook/John Wall trade have stalled, Wall has made it clear that he wants to be traded out of Washington, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

This is a surprising development, as Wall has spent his entire career in D.C. and has spent the better part of two years rehabbing multiple injuries, including a torn Achilles. Having last played on December 26, 2018, Wall appeared poised to return for the Wizards next month, joining forces with Bradley Beal and a newly re-signed Davis Bertans in an effort to get the team back into the postseason.

It’s still possible that will happen. Just because Wall is seeking a trade, that doesn’t mean the Wizards have to oblige. Wall, who has one of the least team-friendly contracts in the NBA still has three years and nearly $133MM left on his deal.

Moving that contract will be a challenge – especially given how long it’s been since teams have seen Wall play – and the 30-year-old doesn’t have a ton of leverage to force Washington’s hand, since he’s so far removed from free agency. Westbrook’s deal is one of the few in the same ballpark financially, but the Rockets would be seeking additional assets in any swap involving the two All-Star point guards.

The Wizards’ biggest concern may be the ripple effect of Wall’s stance. So far, the team has been adamant that it has no intention of trading Bradley Beal and that it wants to see its backcourt fully healthy and back in action this season. In Houston, Westbrook and James Harden both asked to be traded one after the other — general manager Tommy Sheppard won’t want to see that scenario play out with Washington’s star guards.

Before his 2018/19 season ended prematurely, Wall had been averaging 20.7 PPG, 8.7 APG, and 3.6 RPG in 34.5 minutes per contest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Sheppard, Riley, Bertans

27-year-old star Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal has become the clear second star target for the Heat behind reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

A two-time All-Star for Washington, Beal averaged 30.5 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG for a depleted Wizards club last year. He also sported a great shooting slash line of .455/.353/.842. The Heat hope to have enough cap space to sign a max free agent in 2021. Though the Heat could offer a pricey contract extension to emergent All-Star power forward/center Bam Adebayo during the offseason, doing so now instead of waiting until the 2021 offseason could complicate their cap space next summer.

Beal won’t reach free agency until at least 2022, but the Heat have strong interest in trading for him if he expresses dissatisfaction in Washington and the Wizards make him available, according to Jackson, who says “all parties are aware of that.”

There’s more out of the NBA’s Southeast Division:

  • In a conversation for The Kevin Sheehan Show, Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard spoke about potentially trading injured point guard John Wall trade for frustrated Rockets All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. “I think it’s fair to say we talk about every player on every team,” Sheppard said, as Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweeted. “I wouldn’t dwell on it. I’m excited to have John Wall back, looking forward to having him in training camp.” Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington opines that the exploration of this move suggests a willingness by Sheppard to take chances in building his roster.
  • Wizards GM Sheppard made no bones about the most important free agent for his club, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). “(Power forward) Dāvis (Bertāns) is our free agency and we will add pieces afterwards,” Sheppard said.
  • When asked about his plans for the 2020/21 season, Heat team president Pat Riley appeared to indicate that he would be interested in retaining most of the team’s key free agents, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). “I’d like to run this thing back,” Riley said.

Rockets, Wizards Have Explored A Westbrook-Wall Flip

The Wizards and the Rockets have talked about making a star-studded point guard swap, having explored trading former All-Star point guard John Wall for current All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link). Charania notes that Houston currently desires additional pieces in the deal, and that there is “no traction” for the trade just yet.

Wall, 30, has not played in an NBA game for the Wizards since December 26, 2018, felled by a series of injuries, including a torn Achilles. Westbrook, 32, recently requested a trade out of Houston following his inaugural season with the team.

Were this potential move to materialize, it could indicate that the Wizards are striving to improve their roster to entice star shooting guard Bradley Beal, 27, to stay with the team and not ask for a trade himself. Beal has two guaranteed years and $63.25MM left on his contract, with a $37.3MM player option for the 2022/23 season.

Though Rockets star guard Westbrook is not much of a floor spacer, his dynamic scoring, passing and rebounding – plus his consistent on-court availability – could greatly help the Wizards, a team that finished the 2019/20 season just outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture with the No. 9 seed.

Conversely, trading the relatively active Westbrook to the Wizards for the oft-hurt Wall could indicate a willingness from the Rockets front office to consider James Harden trade offers, after their MVP-caliber guard requested a trade of his own.

Westbrook and Wall’s contracts are remarkably similar in terms of length and price, though obviously the on-court risks associated with adding Wall are significantly greater. Assuming Westbrook opts in to the final year of his contract with the Rockets, Westbrook has three seasons and $132.6MM remaining. Wall has three years and $132.9MM left on his deal, assuming he opts into the final year of his own deal with the Wizards.

Wizards Rumors: Beal, Draft, Wall, Bertans, Roster

Within his preview of the Wizards‘ offseason, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes that there’s “no way” the team will trade Bradley Beal this fall. General manager Tommy Sheppard reiterated that point today, telling reporters on a conference call that Beal “isn’t going anywhere,” as Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.

While the Wizards have conveyed that sentiment for a long time, both privately and publicly, rival teams have still been keeping an eye on the situation, hoping things in D.C. may change. But with Beal not expressing to the team that he wants out, and the Wizards showing zero interest in moving him, it appears potential suitors will have to wait until at least the trade deadline – if not the 2021 offseason – to take a shot at Beal.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Sheppard told reporters today that the Wizards are “certainly looking to move up” in the draft, but added that they could also theoretically move back and end up with the same player they want at No. 9, tweets Katz. Sheppard also said Washington would like to acquire another second-round pick in addition to No. 37 (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).
  • The Wizards plan to restrict John Wall‘s workload upon his return from an Achilles tear this season, Sheppard confirmed today. As Hughes writes for NBC Sports Washington, the plan is for Wall to sit one half of the team’s back-to-back to start the season — he’s also extremely unlikely to match his career average of 35.9 minutes per game in 2020/21. “Four games in five nights, a compressed season, all those things; we’re gonna save John from himself,” Sheppard told Katz. “He’s not gonna play 40 minutes a night, and we’ve gotta manage his schedule, certainly. But from where he is at a talent level, I think John’s gonna be able to make a big impact on our team. I think he’s gonna take a lot of pressure off everybody.”
  • The Wizards are still the favorites to re-sign Davis Bertans, according to Katz, who says most people around the league think the sharpshooter will end up with a three- or four-year deal in the range of $12-15MM per year.
  • Outside of re-signing Bertans, Washington’s top priority this offseason will be adding a rim-protecting big man, writes Katz. The Wizards would also like to bring in someone who can guard bigger wings.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Hornets, Wizards, Heat

The Magic have plenty of decisions to make this offseason as the team continues to build its roster. In a new mailbag, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins reflects on how the team may look to improve its personnel.

Robbins notes that finding shooters has not been a priority in the draft for Magic president of basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond, who in recent drafts have focused instead on adding athletic, lengthy prospects.

If the Magic plan to build around point guard Markelle Fultz, Robbins opines that it would behoove the team to at least look for a shooter in 2020 free agency. Robbins also stresses the import of trades to the Magic’s offseason.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • As the Hornets look to grab a blue-chip prospect in this month’s NBA draft, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer considers what sort of trade package could enable Charlotte to move up from the third pick in the draft.
  • With the ninth pick in the 2020 draft, the Wizards will have plenty of options at point guard. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington and other Wizards analysts wonder if, with former All-Star John Wall on the roster, Washington should consider a player at that position, or if it would be better served looking to shore up its roster elsewhere. Wall has not played in an NBA game since December 26, 2018.
  • As we previously relayed, the Heat are doing their due diligence ahead of the November draft. The team has the No. 20 pick this year, and has extended in-person workout invitations to Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey and Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley.