John Wall

Southeast Notes: Beal, Dragic, Reddish

While Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is reluctant to trade Bradley Beal, doing so may represent the team’s quickest path to contention, David Aldridge of The Athletic writes.

Beal is an enormously valuable asset that could net a batch of valuable assets. The Wizards, then, could focus on John Wall‘s rehabilitation in hopes of surrounding him with a strong rotation once he’s healthy.

Aldridge clarifies that the Wizards shouldn’t trade Beal because of any shortcomings, in fact, the opposite. An abundance of teams are clearing space to sign max free agents this summer but there’s only so much top talent to go around.

Beal, as a result, could draw a significant return if the Wizards are willing to leverage the 25-year-old’s excellent 2018/19 campaign.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wall, White, Draft

Retaining Bradley Beal in his prime, rather than trading him for assets, might be the best course of action for the Wizards, Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington argues. Beal could be the ideal role model to establish a new identity and culture for the franchise, Standig continues. Beal could be the main locker room leader next season with John Wall recovering from his Achilles injury and he’d embrace that role, Standig notes. Giving Beal that power might deepen his connection to the franchise’s long-term success, Standig adds.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • With Wall’s super-max extension kicking in, owner Ted Leonsis wants his star point guard to take all the time necessary to make sure he’s fully ready when he starts playing again, as Leonsis expressed in an NBC Sports podcast and relayed by Chase Hughes“John understands his commitment will show from this rehab,” Leonsis said. “If it takes the whole season, we don’t care. We are not putting pressure on you on a time. Make sure that you are rehabilitating in the right way so that when you do come back, you don’t have that little voice in your head [saying], ‘Did I do everything the right way to be able to come back and be a great, great player?'”
  • North Carolina shooting guard Coby White and Kentucky small forward Keldon Johnson are among the prospects the Wizards are bringing in for workouts, Hughes reports in post written by NBC Sports Washington’s Josh Luckenbaugh. White is currently ranked No. 8 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and the Wizards have the ninth pick. Johnson is ranked at No. 19. The Wizards will also soon bring in Georgetown’s Trey Mourning, Duke’s Marques Bolden and Temple’s Shizz Alston Jr.
  • Unless the franchise promotes interim president Tommy Sheppard and ends its long search for a new front office leader to replace Ernie Grunfeld, it’s unknown who will determine Washington’s draft decisions this month, Hughes writes in a separate story.

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Wall, Draft

Scott Brooks still has two years and $14MM left on his contract and while he hasn’t heard a definite answer on his future, he expects to be on the Wizards‘ bench next season.

“I haven’t been told anything different,” Brooks said (via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post). “I’m not saying this in an arrogant way, but I worry about my job day-to-day. I don’t worry about my job long-term. I worry about doing my job today. If that’s good, I can do it again tomorrow.”

The Wizards were plagued with injuries this season, but Brooks has done well with the hand he was dealt. Bradley Beal evolved into a premier player under his leadership and Brooks made several prudent rotation decisions, such as inserting Thomas Bryant into the starting lineup instead of Ian Mahinmi when Dwight Howard was forced out of action. Mahinmi was the team’s fourth-highest paid player at the time so the decision wasn’t an easy one to make.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Brooks acknowledges that he has to continue to improve as a coach, as Buckner relays in the same piece. His defensive scheme could be an area where change occurs.“We have to, myself and my staff and I have to be — I have to evaluate just like Ted and our new person will evaluate, as well,” Brooks said. “But it’s a lot of things we have to look at, and everything is on the table.”
  • According to some within the Wizards‘ organization, John Wall lost his edge once he signed his mammoth deal and some questioned his level of commitment to the game, The Athletic’s Michael Lee writes. Wall has gained a greater appreciation for the game being away from basketball and he’s anxious to prove all of his doubters wrong. “Just hearing what people say, that just keeps my fuel going,” Wall said. “I read all the articles. It’s over. His career is over. All that type of stuff. So, it’s fun for me.”
  • The Wizards can’t let Wall deter them from drafting a top point guard prospect during the upcoming draft, Lee argues in the same piece. The scribe believes Washington should take Ja Morant if available but ultimately the team needs to take the best player available regardless of position.

John Wall Unsure If He’ll Play Next Season

A torn Achilles tendon will sideline John Wall for at least the start of the 2019/20 season, and the Wizards point guard isn’t entirely sure that he’ll be able to return at all next season. After undergoing surgery on his Achilles in February, Wall told reporters on Tuesday that his return timeline remains very much up in the air, as Howard Fendrich of The Associated Press relays.

“I have no idea just yet,” Wall said when asked about playing next season. “That’s my goal. … That’s my mindset, where I’m pushing toward. But whenever the doctors clear me and get to that point, then I will know.”

According to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, Wall plans to rehab the injury in Miami during the summer. However, he’ll remain in town for a few weeks and will be keeping an eye on which direction owner Ted Leonsis goes with the club’s general manager hire after dismissing Ernie Grunfeld. The veteran point guard expressed confidence in Leonsis’ ability to make a strong hire.

“Whoever we have or hire is going to be somebody that has watched us from the outside, not the inside, and understands what this team needs and what type of culture we need around here, what type of veterans we need and what type of leaders we need to make this team the right team,” Wall said, per Hughes.

While the Wizards don’t have that new GM in place yet, Wall did offer one piece of roster construction advice for Grunfeld’s eventual replacement, as Hughes notes.

“I think most of the years I’ve been here we’ve always had five or six guys on one-year contracts,” Wall said. “That’s always tough to deal with because those guys are fighting for their lives and fighting to make sure they keep their jobs in this league. I think you kind of want to get and sustain a core group that you know is going to be here for a while.”

The Wizards are also in position to claim a high pick in the 2019 draft, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a prospect like Murray State point guard Ja Morant could be the best player available when Washington is on the clock this June. If the club does decide to select a point guard with its top pick, Wall is fine with that outcome, he told reporters on Tuesday.

“I would have no problem with that because it is what it is,” Wall said. “You have to do what is best for the team. You have to make sure that we have pieces. And when I come back, he can be a great back-up to me.”

Wizards Notes: GM Search, Wall, Ariza

The Wizards will be vying this spring with the Suns, Pelicans, and possibly the Timberwolves for general manager candidates. And while Washington may not have the promising cap outlook or collection of young players out of those teams, it still may be considered the best opportunity for GM hopefuls, writes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“We really care about two things: Is the boss invested in his team, and will he prove it by spending the money we ask him to spend?” one longtime executive said to Golliver. “(Wizards owner) Ted (Leonsis) is two-for-two. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. He paid John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Ian Mahinmi. He paid Andray Blatche and then paid him to go away. What more could you want?”

Leonsis says there’s no list of candidates yet to replace former president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld, but league executives tell Golliver that the search figures to include “past and present top decision-makers, as well as up-and-coming executives.” Besides some of the names already mentioned as candidates, Golliver identifies Thunder vice president Troy Weaver and Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik as a couple more options for the Wizards.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Firing Grunfeld was the right move, but the Wizards did it for the wrong reasons, contends Tom Ziller of In a separate article for The Washington Post, Golliver writes that a number of Grunfeld’s personnel missteps continue to loom large over the franchise.
  • While head coach Scott Brooks is expected to return for the 2019/20 season, he acknowledges that it could be a difficult year of transition for the Wizards. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for the next general manger to come in and shape the team,” Brooks said, per Lisa Redmond of NBC Sports Washington. “… We have five players and plus a first-round pick coming up and so it’s going to be a very important summer with John (Wall) being out. You know, we have to be very creative. Not going to make an excuse that it’s going to be a tough year, but it’s going to be a challenging year.”
  • Speaking of Wall, even though his Achilles injury is bad news for the Wizards, there’s a possible silver lining, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. As Buckner outlines, the franchise will only be on the hook for 20% of Wall’s 2019/20 salary until he returns to the court, with insurance picking up the other 80%. Of course, Wall’s full super-max salary (projected to be worth $37.8MM) will still count against the cap.
  • Wizards forward Trevor Ariza is likely done for the season due to his groin injury, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team has previously expressed interest in retaining Ariza – an unrestricted free agent this summer – beyond this season, but it’s not clear how the front office shakeup will affect the veteran.

Wizards Notes: Grunfeld, Leonsis, GM Search

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said he alone made the call to relieve Ernie Grunfeld of his duties. “No one made this decision other than me,” Leonsis said (Twitter links via Candace Buckner of the Washington Post).

“My main goal is to right now as fast as I can bring in an outside firm to provide some services for us,” Leonsis said. “I want to do what’s called ‘best practicing.’ What do the best organizations look like? What do they spend?

“Maybe I made the mistake in the way we spent and invested out money. I have to be open-minded.”

Leonsis does not believe the organization will have issues attracting a top candidate for the GM gig, a sentiment echoed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Resources and geography are among the reasons to expect the position to be highly sought after.

Here’s more from Washington:

  • Tommy Sheppard, the team’s interim GM, is a strong candidate for the position, per Leonsis. Sheppard is the senior vice president of basketball operations and has been with the organization for 14 years.
  • Leonsis called both Bradley Beal and John Wall shortly after making the move to notify them of the change, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports tweets.
  • Scott Brooks’ job status will be determined after a general manager is hired, Leonsis added (via Hughes in a separate tweet). The new GM won’t be restricted in terms of the direction the franchise goes in, as Leonsis is open to all ideas.
  • Hughes (in a full-length piece) identifies 10 possible candidates for the GM position, including Sheppard and former Cavs GM David Griffin. Hughes also speculated that Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton, who was with the Wizards from 2003 until 2013, could be a candidate for the position.

John Wall Undergoes Achilles Surgery

Wizards point guard John Wall has undergone successful surgery on his ruptured left Achilles tendon, Candace Buckner of The Washington Post reports (via Twitter). The team had announced last Tuesday that Wall would undergo the procedure sometime soon.

While the Wizards indicated last week that Wall is expected to return to full basketball activities approximately 12 months after undergoing surgery, that timeline isn’t set in stone. As Buckner notes (via Twitter), the window for Wall’s recovery is more like 11-15 months, so there’s a chance he may not return at all during the 2019/20 campaign, which is the first season of his four-year, super-max extension.

Wall previously underwent season-ending surgery on his left heel, but later suffered the Achilles injury after he slipped and fell in his home. It was a devastating blow for both the Wizards and their All-Star point guard, but Wall attempted to take an optimistic view when he discussed the injury last week.

“You never want to hear it, but it is what it is, and [I’m] kind of glad that it happened now instead of when I’m four or five months ahead in recovery and I’m trying to get back to being on the court,” Wall said. “… It’s not like I’ve started my process of getting back, so it’s not too much to kind of dwell on.

“I guess God is telling me something: ‘Sit down and get yourself fully healthy.’ I’ve played through injuries my whole career. I know a lot of people who’ve played through injuries and don’t sit down; that’s one thing I don’t like to do. If something is nagging or not broken, I want to play. And I guess it kind of caught up to me. Something I can’t control, but my love for the game is still there, and I’ll come back and conquer this like it was just a little step in the road.”

With Wall sidelined for the next year, the Wizards will be under additional pressure to get new starting point guard Tomas Satoransky locked up beyond this season. Satoransky, who is eligible for an in-season extension, is on track to become a restricted free agent this summer.

John Wall Talks About Injury, Recovery

A disastrous injury to John Wall got even worse this week with the news that he developed an infection from heel surgery, then fell in his home and ruptured his left Achilles tendon, which is expected to sideline him for an additional 12 months.

Still, Wall was in good spirits as he joined his teammates for Friday’s win over the Cavaliers and as he talked to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post about his upcoming operation, which is set for Tuesday morning.

“You never want to hear it, but it is what it is, and [I’m] kind of glad that it happened now instead of when I’m four or five months ahead in recovery and I’m trying to get back to being on the court,” Wall said. “… It’s not like I’ve started my process of getting back, so it’s not too much to kind of dwell on.

“I guess God is telling me something: ‘Sit down and get yourself fully healthy.’ I’ve played through injuries my whole career. I know a lot of people who’ve played through injuries and don’t sit down; that’s one thing I don’t like to do. If something is nagging or not broken, I want to play. And I guess it kind of caught up to me. Something I can’t control, but my love for the game is still there, and I’ll come back and conquer this like it was just a little step in the road.”

Young forward Otto Porter was shipped to the Bulls in exchange for Bobby Portis, a restricted free agent, and Jabari Parker, who will have a team option on his $20MM salary for next year. Veteran Markieff Morris was sent to New Orleans in exchange for impending free agent Wesley Johnson in another money-saving trade.

“We added some great pieces; you see how well those guys played today,” Wall said in assessing the trades. “The franchise made some changes the last couple days, made some adjustments, and I think these guys that we added have a great mind-set even though it was only one game. Just take it one step at a time. For me, all I can do is sit back and watch film . . . [so] that I can come back and be able to play injury-free and just have fun without playing through nicks and bruises every night.”

John Wall Expected To Miss At Least 12 More Months

John Wall‘s injury issues have gone from bad to worse, according to a new announcement from the Wizards. After initially undergoing season-ending surgery on his left heel last month, Wall developed an infection in the incision from that surgery, then suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon when he slipped and fell in his home, the team announced today in a press release.

As a result of the new injury, Wall will undergo surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon. That procedure will likely happen next week, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). According to the club, the veteran point guard is expected to return to full basketball activity in approximately 12 months after undergoing that surgery.

It’s brutal news for the Wizards and for Wall, who will enter the first year of a four-year, maximum-salary contract extension in 2019/20. That extension has a projected starting salary of $38.15MM and a projected total value of $170.91MM. However, it doesn’t sound like Wall will play much – if at all – during the first season of his new deal, as the 12-month timeline would keep him on the shelf until around the All-Star break in 2020.

Even when Wall returns, it will likely take him some time to get back up to speed, if previous NBA Achilles injuries are any indication. Considering he’s a player who relies so much on his quickness and explosiveness, there’s also no guarantee he’ll recapture his pre-injury form. He’ll be 29 years old by the time he gets back on the court for the Wizards.

The Wizards will now have to address their point guard position this offseason, since they’ll be without Wall for much of the 2019/20 campaign. Tomas Satoransky, who has assumed Wall’s spot in the starting lineup, will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. We heard last month that Washington had explored a possible in-season extension for Satoransky, who would be eligible for a four-year contract worth up to about $47.5MM.

Before going down for the season, Wall was his usual productive self for the Wizards, averaging 20.7 PPG and 8.7 APG with a .444 FG% in 32 games. However, Washington was well below .500 at the time of Wall’s injury and remains on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture today. The 22-31 Wizards are tied for 10th in the East with Orlando.

Despite the Wizards’ struggles, owner Ted Leonsis has said a playoff spot is still the goal, stressing that the franchise has no plans to trade any of its Big Three (Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter). Of course, Wall’s value would be in the tank at this point anyway, so he won’t be a trade candidate anytime soon.

As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and Michael Lee of The Athletic observe (via Twitter), the one silver lining for Wall is that he signed his extension from the Wizards while it was available to him in 2017. If he had passed on that offer, he would have been in line for unrestricted free agency this July, and would have found himself in a position similar to the one DeMarcus Cousins was in last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Deveney’s Latest: Wizards, Sixers, Fultz, Morris

After sharing some trade-related notes on the Trail Blazers, Dario Saric, and Wesley Matthews on Monday, Sean Deveney of Sporting News is back with another handful of trade rumors today. Let’s dive right in and round up the highlights…

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said last week that there are no plans to trade John Wall, Bradley Beal, or Otto Porter at this year’s deadline, and rival executives have heard the same thing in discussions with Washington, writes Deveney. “They’re not budging,” one exec said of the Wizards. “Maybe they’d deal Porter, but they want a star-type player back, and that’s not happening.”
  • The Sixers aren’t yet ready to move on from Markelle Fultz, sources tell Deveney. Fultz is still 20 years old and his value has cratered, so Philadelphia will hold out hope that he can rebuild that value. However, that stance could change in the offseason if the team views Fultz as a key trade chip to acquire important role players.
  • The Sixers have been “very active” on the trade market as they seek depth, but would be content to go the buyout route if necessary, after having success there a year ago, says Deveney.
  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris isn’t a trade candidate, given how important he has been in Boston this season. “I would hate to think where they’d be without Morris,” one scout told Deveney. “All the stuff that’s gone on, at least on the floor, he kind of holds it together for them.”
  • Morris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and executives around the NBA predict that he’ll command a starting salary in the $11-12MM range, according to Deveney. “Two years makes sense, but maybe a third year on an option,” said one GM. Deveney names the Kings, Jazz, and Pacers as teams that could have interest in the Celtics forward during the offseason.