John Wall

Poll: Nets’ Playoff Chances

Heading into the 2018/19 season, many expected the Nets to make another jump in the standings as a result of their players developing and the quality depth they added in the offseason. However, there were no expectations that at the halfway point of the season, the Nets would be sitting in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference despite not having their best player available for the past two months.

The Nets are 21-23, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that they were 8-18 in early December. Instead of focusing on getting the best draft pick possible, Kenny Atkinson continued to believe that his team could turn it around, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Since December 6, the Nets own the league’s 12th-ranked offense and 15th-best defense.

D’Angelo Russell has made strides as a playmaker and scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie is a top candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and Joe Harris has provided elite shooting and floor-spacing.

Keep in mind that a lot of this recent run by the Nets has come without Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, not to mention Caris LeVert. The Nets use their depth and bench to their advantage on a nightly basis, which allows them to stay afloat when injuries strike.

With that being said, many still expect teams like the Pistons and Hornets to improve moving forward, while the Wizards have found new life since John Wall went down for the season. Do the Nets have enough top-end talent to lead them to the playoffs? Or will their strong bench and depth be enough for them to sneak in? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote

Southeast Notes: Huerter, Beal, Prince, Isaac

The Hawks are in the early stages of a rebuild. Having brought in a new coaching staff and with a new focus on player development, it has been very encouraging for the team to see Kevin Huerter break out in recent weeks. After slowly adjusting to the NBA, Huerter has received more playing time as of late and has been productive in his role. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details Huerter’s recent stretch of play and what it means for the Hawks’ future.

For the season, Huerter is averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while knocking down 38% of his 3-pointers. However, in January the 20-year-old guard is averaging 15 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while playing 38 minutes per contest.

As Huerter continues to develop alongside Trae Young and John Collins, it’s clear that the Hawks have quality young talent to grow and develop for years to come.

There’s more from the Southeast division:

Wizards Apply For Disabled Player Exception

The Wizards have applied for an $8.6MM disabled player exception in the wake of the heel surgery that will keep point guard John Wall out for the rest of the season, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Teams are permitted to seek the exception to replace a player who becomes seriously injured. An NBA-designated doctor must determine that the player is likely to be sidelined through June 15, but there’s little doubt in the case of Wall, who is projected to be out of action for six to eight months.

Clubs that receive the DPE can normally sign a replacement for up to 50% of the injured player’s salary, but it is capped at the level of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, notes Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). That’s why the Wizards are limited to the $8.6MM figure, even though Wall makes more than $19MM this season.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Disabled Player Exception]

The DPE doesn’t allow teams to expand their rosters, but that’s not presently an issue for Washington, which has 13 players, one below the league minimum, after waiving Ron Baker on Monday. The Wizards have two weeks to re-add a 14th man.

Wall was released from the hospital today, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. He played just 32 games this season, posting a 20.7/3.6/8.7 line.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Wall, Satoransky

The Wizards have shown no inclination yet that they have any interest in moving star guard Bradley Beal, but a pair of reports have given a clue of what the team’s asking price would be if Beal becomes available.

Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweeted on Wednesday that he has heard the Wizards would seek something like two first-round picks, a “young asset,” and another player in exchange for Beal. Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported something similar today, citing sources who say that Washington would want “two players and two draft picks” for Beal.

Building a deal for Beal might be tricky, since both the players and picks would have to be pretty valuable for the Wizards to consider moving their leading scorer — plus, a potential trade partner would almost certainly have to match Beal’s $25.4MM salary without including any unwanted multiyear contracts. We’ll have to wait to see if any club makes a viable offer to the Wizards in advance of next month’s trade deadline.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • In a column for The Athletic, David Aldridge compares the current Wizards to the 2015 Raptors, who were unceremoniously swept out of the first round by Washington. Despite calls to break up their roster, those Raps worked on surrounding Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan with more talent, and built a perennial 50-win contender. Given their salary commitments, the Wizards may have a hard time taking the same approach with Beal and John Wall, but Aldridge believes it’s possible.
  • Within that same article, Aldridge argues that the Wizards should make an effort to keep Wall’s minutes in check next season – and beyond – as they try to keep him healthy. That’s why re-signing RFA-to-be Tomas Satoransky is “a must, not a choice” in the offseason, per Aldridge.
  • As they did last season, the Wizards figure to make a concerted effort to move the ball around as much as possible on offense with Wall sidelined, writes Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Standig points to Wednesday’s win over Atlanta, in which the Wizards racked up 29 assists on 43 field goals, as a prime example of that approach. “We’re definitely going to miss [John] and hate that he’s out. Definitely not saying that we’re a better team without him. That’s far from the truth,” Beal said after Wednesday’s win. “But reality is reality. We have to accept the fact that [John] won’t be with us this year and do our best to make a run at it.”
  • With Markieff Morris set to be sidelined until at least mid-February, the Wizards will have to make some tough roster decisions before the February 7 trade deadline, as Standig details in a separate NBC Sports Washington story.

Southeast Notes: Satoransky, Toliver, Magic, Bacon

Wizards restricted free agent Tomas Satoransky has been thrust into the spotlight with John Wall opting for season-ending heel surgery, Chase Hughes on NBC Sports Washington notes. Satoransky takes over the starting point guard spot with Wall sidelined, with Chasson Randle, Ron Baker and Troy Brown Jr. in reserve. Coach Scott Brooks believes Satoransky can handle the pressure. “He’s ready for this,” Brooks said. “Tomas is going to get a great opportunity. He’s going to be more comfortable as the games go by.” Washington will need to make Satoransky a qualifying offer of $3.9MM to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards assistant coach Kristi Toliver is being paid like an intern due to NBA rules, Howard Megdal of the New York Times reports. Since Toliver plays with the Mystics, who are also owned by Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, the league determined that Toliver’s compensation must come out of the $50K allocated to each team to pay WNBA players for off-season work. Much of that had already been promised to Mystics and WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, so Toliver is only making $10K.
  • The Magic will aggressively pursue a point guard in free agency, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets. Orlando has been using journeyman D.J. Augustin as its starter this season with Jerian Grant as the primary backup.
  • The Hornets will likely bring back Dwayne Bacon with Jeremy Lamb injured, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Lamb suffered a right hamstring strain on Monday. Bacon was assigned the team’s G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, on Sunday. Bacon, a second-year swingman, has appeared in 17 games with the Hornets, averaging 5.5 PPG in 12.4 MPG.

John Wall Explains Motivation For Surgery

John Wall opted for season-ending surgery because he was concerned he was risking a ruptured Achilles without it, relays Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The operation on his left heel, which is planned for next week, will keep the Wizards guard out of action for six to eight months but should leave him completely healthy for the start of training camp in late September.

“If I don’t want to deal with the pain or make it any worse and have an opportunity to maybe rupture my whole Achilles later down the road, you get the surgery and take it out,” Wall said. “Some days it would be terrible where you couldn’t play or could barely walk. So it’s not really a hard decision for me to make. It was an easy decision. It was just also making sure that everybody on my team and everybody from the Wizards organization was on the same page.”

Wall has been diagnosed with “Haglund’s deformity,” which has created a bump in the heel beneath the Achilles tendon. Wall explained that he has experienced pain in that area for four or five years, but specialists recently told him it could result in degeneration of the tendon.

This will be the third surgery in less than three years for Wall, who played just 41 games last season after having an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left knee 11 months ago. His final stats for this year are 20.7/3.6/8.7 in 32 games.

“This is something that’s been there for years,” Wall said of the bone spurs in his heel. “I’ve played through it, and now it’s to the point where you can’t play through it no more unless you want to tear your whole Achilles. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m taking the shorter process of taking six to eight months instead of taking 15 to 20 months.”

Wizards Notes: Wall, Beal, Morris, Satoransky

The Wizards have three options now that John Wall has decided to undergo heel surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the season, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The most drastic choice, a complete renovation that would include trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal, appears to be the least likely, according to Katz. He states that teams have already called about Beal, but the Wizards haven’t shown any interest in moving him. Otto Porter could be the biggest name the front office is willing to part with.

If Washington opts to tank this season, Katz says the team already has an example from what the Grizzlies did last year. Memphis got rid of some of its marginal talent, endured a losing season and wound up with the fourth pick in the draft. The Wizards are only about $5MM above the tax line and may want to add draft choices after trading away selections in the Jodie Meeks and Jason Smith deals. The Lakers may still be interested in Trevor Ariza, who has a $15MM expiring contract, and Markieff Morris‘ expiring $8.6MM deal could also be in play. Jeff Green, who is playing for the veterans minimum, could easily be moved into a trade exception.

The most likely direction, Katz adds, is to keep the current group of players together and see if they can make a run at the playoffs. Washington is 4.8 points per 100 possessions worse with Wall on the court this year and 11.4 points per 100 possessions worse over the past 25 games, so his absence may not be that difficult to overcome.

There’s more Wizards news to pass along:

  • Washington played well enough without Wall late last season to earn a playoff spot, but Ben Golliver of The Washington Post argues that tanking is the best long-term strategy. His advice is to reduce the workload for Beal, who is averaging 36.6 minutes per game, and unload as many veterans as possible.
  • Morris will see a specialist for a lingering neck injury, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Morris has been experiencing pain in his neck and upper back since being hit with an elbow in a December 16 game. Although he sat out two games this weekend, Morris remains optimistic about his prognosis. “It’s something where I think if it required surgery, they would have told me already,” he said. “I don’t think it’s that deep. I hope it’s not that deep.”
  • Wall’s absence will create more playing time for third-year guard Tomas Satoransky, who had 20 points in last night’s win over Charlotte. “Tomas is going to get a great opportunity,” coach Scott Brooks said in a tweet from the team. “He’s going to be more comfortable as the games go by. I think Tomas is going to excel in this. He’s ready for this. He had some moments last season that he saved our season.”

John Wall To Have Season-Ending Surgery

Wizards star John Wall will undergo surgery on his left heel that will keep him out of action for six to eight months, the team announced on its website.

The Wizards describe the operation as “a debridement and repair of a Haglund’s deformity and a chronic Achilles tendon injury in his left heel.” An exact date for the procedure hasn’t been set, but it will take place sometime next week in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The operation was deemed necessary because of persistent pain and inflammation in Wall’s heel.

Wall missed his third game of the season tonight because of the heel. He has posted a 20.7/3.6/8.7 line, but the Wizards are off to a disappointing 13-23 start.

The team’s poor performance may have factored into Wall’s decision to have the operation done now rather than trying to play through the pain. The Wizards want to be sure Wall is fully healthy next season when his four-year, $170MM contract extension takes effect. A six- to eight-month timetable should have him ready to resume basketball activities sometime in the summer.

“Open Season” On Wizards’ Roster

John Wall‘s likely decision to undergo season-ending ankle surgery has created a sense of urgency in Washington to shake up the roster, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports.

The Wizards have backed off the trade market in recent weeks as they inched closer to playoff contention, sitting four and a half games out of the eighth spot with a 13-23 record. However, the prospect of finishing the season without Wall seems to sink any hope for the postseason.

“They can’t move Wall now. Way too hard,” a rival executive tells Smith.(Ian) Mahinmi? Why pay to move him either? (Bradley) Beal and (Otto) Porter? Sure, in the right deal. (Markieff) Morris, (Jeff) Green, maybe even flip (Trevor) Ariza again? Those guys are all easily moved. It’s open season on that roster now.”

Another unidentified front office member described Washington’s dire situation by saying, “They’ve got to move on from Beal or Porter now, just to clear up the cap some. Vultures are starting to circle.” (Twitter link)

Without at least one move to clear salary, the Wizards will add luxury tax payments to an extremely disappointing season. Washington projects to be about $5MM above the $123.733MM tax line and is in danger of being in the same spot next year.

Wall is currently third on the team in salary at about $19.17MM, but that number will balloon next season when his four-year, $170MM extension kicks in. His injury, on top of that contract, makes him virtually untradable.

Porter will earn $26MM this year, $27.25MM in 2019/20 and has a nearly $28.5MM player option for the following season that he seems certain to exercise. Porter’s production hasn’t matched his potential since being given a rookie scale extension, and the Wizards might have to attach another asset to get a team to accept his contract.

Beal, who is coming off an All-Star season and posting a career-high 23.8 PPG scoring average, would probably fetch the best return. But the Wizards have to decide whether they want to part with a core piece who is under contract for about $55.8MM over the next two years.

Another possibility is to trade away Ariza, who was acquired from the Suns earlier this month to boost Washington’s playoff chances. Ariza has an expiring $15MM contract, but he cannot be aggregated, meaning traded along with teammates in the same deal, which could limit the Wizards’ options.

Washington is eligible to apply for a Disabled Player Exception if Wall is lost for the year, Smith adds (Twitter link). If approved, the franchise would have $8.641MM to work with that could be used to sign, trade for or claim a player off waivers. The Wizards would have to apply by January 15 and use it by March 10, and any roster addition will count against the tax.

John Wall Leaning Towards Season-Ending Surgery

DECEMBER 29, 2:35pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is now reporting that Wall is planning to undergo the season-ending surgery on his left heel, with doctors having recommended that he undergo the procedure soon.

DECEMBER 29, 2:27pm: Per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, Wall is contemplating surgery on his injured left heel that would keep him out for six to eight months. Shams Charania of The Athletic adds that Wall has tried to battle through the pain, but it has become more significant, so he’s leaning toward having the surgery.

DECEMBER 28, 9:56pm: Wizards point guard John Wall will visit a specialist to examine bone spurs in his left heel, according to an Associated Press report.

Wall missed the Wizards’ 101-92 loss to Chicago on Friday. Dr. Robert Anderson, currently an associate team physician for the Green Bay Packers, will perform the examination, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets. Anderson has performed operations on Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Cam Newton and Derek Jeter, Aldridge notes.

An extended Wall absence would likely extinguish any remaining playoff hopes for one of the league’s most disappointing teams. The long-term implications could be even more severe, since Wall’s four-year, $170MM super max extension kicks in next season.

Wall only played 41 regular-season games last season due to a knee injury. The heel injury has nagged Wall for several seasons, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Coach Scott Brooks said the heel has gotten worse recently. Wall played the first game after Christmas in Detroit and scored 21 points but was limited for four points after halftime.

“He has good days and bad days like a lot of guys through,” Brooks said. “He has been able to manage it. … It has been bothering him, so it’s time to see a specialist.”

Washington can only hope that Wall’s heel issues won’t linger. He will make a projected $38.1MM in the first year of his extension, nearly double his current salary. Based on current cap estimates, his salaries will escalate to $41.2MM and $44.25MM for the next two seasons, completed by a $47.3MM player option for the 2022/23 season.

In his absence, Tomas Satoransky steps in at point guard. Washington traded away a rotation guard, Austin Rivers, in the Trevor Ariza deal with Phoenix.