John Wall

John Wall, Marcin Gortat Met Privately To Clear Air

Wizards teammates John Wall and Marcin Gortat had a private in-person meeting last week to discuss where they stood with one another and clear the air, league sources tell Chris Haynes of ESPN. The meeting came on the heels of apparent public friction between the two players.

The meeting, which was requested by both players, didn’t last long, according to Haynes. Sources tell ESPN that while Wall and Gortat aired their grievances, there’s still more work to be done before their relationship is fully repaired.

The tension between Wall and Gortat seemingly began shortly after the point guard went down with a knee injury. Following a win in which the Wizards racked up 30 assists without Wall, Marcin Gortat tweeted that it was a great “team” victory, a comment perceived by many as a passive-aggressive slight at his teammate.

According to Haynes, Wall reached out to Gortat soon after the big man published his tweet to essentially tell him that if he has a problem with Wall, he should direct it to him rather than cryptically addressing it on social media. Although Gortat insisted that he meant no offense by his comment, Wall also responded publicly during an appearance on ESPN’s Sportscenter.

“I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game,” Wall said at the time. “I’m very prideful in finding my teammates and getting guys easy shots. Even more just shocking hearing it from [Gortat] and understand he gets the most assists from me and gets the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”

Gortat was involved in some trade rumors prior to the deadline, but ultimately stayed put, so he and Wall will have to be on the same page if the Wizards hope to make another run in the postseason this spring. According to Haynes, sources close to the Wizards suggest that this sort of altercation is natural due to the rigors of an emotional season, so it sounds like they’re not overly concerned about it. Still, the franchise may look into introducing a policy that would allow the club to fine a player for any social media posts deemed detrimental to the team, Haynes notes.

Southeast Notes: Wade, Wall, Brooks, Anderson, Hawks

Dwyane Wade is back with the Heat and he has already played in his first game back. The fans welcomed the three-time NBA champion with open arms, as did the organization. It’s clear that Wade is no longer the perennial All-Star he was for his first 13 seasons, but he appreciates whatever role he is given, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

“I’m not really concerned with it. I’m not worried with it,” Wade said. “So whatever coach asks from not only me, but all of us to do, that’s what we have to do if we want to win. We just all have to be selfless. So Dwyane Wade will be selfless to make sure whatever it takes for this team to win, that I can hopefully bring.”

Wade, 36, already said that he does not intend to leave the Heat again and wants to retire with the franchise. In the few days Wade has been back, he made it clear that his goal is to help the team in any role.

Check out other Southeast Division notes below:

  • Wizards All-Star John Wall is still on crutches as he recovers from the minor knee surgery he underwent in late January. Wall is still a long way from being back on the court and still likely has another week left on crutches, Candace Bucker of The Washington Post writes.
  • Wall made several media appearances recently where he defended himself and made some controversial remarks in regard to his Wizards teammates, prompting coach Scott Brooks to weigh in on his superstar player and his importance to the team, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “For people to think that we’re not better with John, that’s for clickbait,” Brooks said. “It’s unfortunate that he had to defend himself. You wish he wouldn’t have to. Sometimes you have to.”
  • NBA veteran Alan Anderson has been claimed by the Magic‘s G League affiliate Lakeland Magic, the team announced. The 35-year-old last appeared in the NBA with the Clippers last season.
  • The Hawks cannot take on any more money after the team received nearly $688,000 from the Wizards in the Sheldon Mac deal, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

Wizards Notes: Wall, Gortat, Beal, Satoransky

While it has been overshadowed by the drama in Cleveland, there has seemed to be some uneasiness in Washington this season. After a team meeting earlier in the year, multiple Wizards players admitted that the meeting might have had a negative impact on the locker room, which is something we almost never hear.

Now, with John Wall sidelined for several weeks as he recovers from knee surgery, the star point guard appears to have felt slighted by the notion that his team might be moving the ball better without him in the lineup. Last week after a win in which the Wizards racked up 30 assists, Marcin Gortat tweeted that it was a great “team” victory. Wall addressed that comment during an appearance this week on SportsCenter, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post details.

“I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game,” Wall said. “I’m very prideful in finding my teammates and getting guys easy shots. Even more just shocking hearing it from him and understand he gets the most assists from me and gets the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”

As we attempt to determine how real the apparent tension in the Wizards’ locker room is, here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Responding to Wall’s appearances on SportsCenter and NBC Sports Washington – during which Wall said that “any guys [who] have a problem with me can talk to me face-to-face as a man” – Gortat insisted that neither his comment nor one made by Bradley Beal last week were intended to attack or frustrate the All-Star point guard. “I talked to him a few days ago,” Gortat said, per Buckner. “I thought we verified that. I told him that it was nothing personal and I definitely didn’t think about him when I was writing that or whatever I was saying. We never thought about attacking him and I thought we had this verified.”
  • Beal offered another defense of his his “everybody eats” comment from last week too, as Buckner details. “I keep telling everybody it’s not a shot at John,” Beal said. “I’m sure Gortat didn’t mean anything by his [tweet]. We understand — nobody is sitting here saying we’re a better team without John. That’s just nonsense. I’ll say it a thousand times if I have to. I’ll go on every media outlet if I have to to get that point across: we’re not a better team without John. I want to nip that in the bud ASAP. He’s a tremendous player. He’s our leader. We need him back but we want him to be 110% before that happens.”
  • Despite the Wizards’ impressive ball-movement numbers over the last few games, the idea that the team might be better without Wall is ridiculous, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
  • Tomas Satoransky‘s play in Wall’s absence may have an impact on the Wizards’ trade deadline plans, says Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Hughes’ piece was published when Satoransky was averaging 11.0 PPG and 5.8 APG in place of Wall — in the two games since, those averages have dipped to a more pedestrian 5.5 PPG and 4.5 APG.
  • On Tuesday, we learned that the Wizards have engaged in some trade talks involving Gortat. That story is right here.

John Wall Undergoes Knee Surgery, Out 6-8 Weeks

JANUARY 31: The Wizards officially confirmed today in a press release that Wall underwent a successful arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left knee. He’ll miss about six to eight weeks, according to the team.

JANUARY 30: John Wall will undergo a procedure on his troublesome left knee tomorrow, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, who reports that the Wizards point guard will be sidelined for the next six-to-eight weeks. Buckner had written on Monday that Wall was headed to Cleveland to seek a second opinion on his knee issue.

Wall’s knee soreness, which stems from an injury sustained early in the season, has slowed him down at times this season. He has received injections and had his knee drained already, and will now undergo what Buckner refers to as a “clean up.” Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who calls the procedure a “knee scope,” hears that Wall could be sidelined for two months (Twitter link).

The Wizards will look to hold onto their position in the Eastern Conference playoff picture during Wall’s absence. Currently, the club’s 27-22 record is tied for fifth in the East, but the Bucks (27-22) and Pacers (28-23) could soon push Washington down to the No. 7 spot. The Sixers (24-23) and the new-look Pistons (22-26) are also lurking.

While the Wizards hope to get a fully healthy Wall back for this season’s stretch run, the team has to be nervous about ongoing knee issues for a player who is under contract through 2022/23 — based on current cap projections, the point guard’s salary will rise to nearly $47MM by the end of his super-max contract.

Wall’s knee injury will also force him to miss the All-Star Game, so a replacement figures to be announced soon. That substitute will be an Eastern Conference player and will join LeBron James‘ squad for the event. (Update: Andre Drummond is replacing Wall.)

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Heat, Howard, Wall

Heat center Hassan Whiteside believes his team’s lack of national exposure contributed to him being overlooked for the All-Star Game, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside is having a solid season, averaging 14.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per night, and the Heat are fourth in the East at 27-20, but Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love and Al Horford were selected ahead of him as reserve frontcourt players.

“You know, it’s confusing,” Whiteside said. “I get confused about it sometimes. Is it about stats? Or is it about winning?”

Of the 15 teams with the league’s best records, the Heat were the only ones not to have an All-Star. Whiteside suggested it’s because the team has barely appeared on national television. TNT hasn’t televised a single Miami game this season, while ESPN has shown just one, with another scheduled broadcast bumped for a Celtics-Timberwolves contest.

“The NBA pushes teams,” he said. “The NBA pushes guys. The media pushes people. There’s teams all got Christmas games that stink, so I’m not going to say what teams, but you all know those teams that shouldn’t be playing on Christmas.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
  • The Heat have taken a creative approach to getting maximum value out of their two-way players, Jackson adds in a separate story. Both are close to their NBA limit, with nine days left for Derrick Jones and six for Derrick Walton. Miami is conserving their time by not having them travel with the team on the flight home from Houston after Monday’s game and not having them at practice today. All two-way players will be eligible to join their teams after their G League season [or playoff run] is over, even if they have used all 45 days. For Jones and Walton, that will be March 24, unless Sioux Falls makes the postseason.
  • Gambling on Dwight Howard has turned out to be a good move, Hornets coach Steve Clifford tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Howard’s problems with free throws and turnovers haven’t gone away, but his coach contends the 32-year-old center has made a difference by still being a dominant rebounder and rim protector. “This might be his best [season] since his second year in Houston,” Clifford said.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is getting a strong reaction to his negative comments about John Wall, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. After the Wizards lost Monday in Dallas, Barea told reporters he doesn’t believe Wall is liked by his teammates. “I’ve never had a teammate say he didn’t like me,” Wall said to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). “If it’s true, nobody would be man enough to say it to me so I don’t believe it. … I don’t let that affect me.”

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Speights, Bacon

The Heat will be eligible to apply for a hardship exception after tonight’s game, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. To qualify, teams must have at least four players miss three consecutive games with injuries and be ruled out for at least two more weeks by an independent medical specialist. Dion Waiters will sit out his third straight game tonight with a sprained ankle, joining Justise Winslow, who has missed eight games with a left knee sprain, and Rodney McGruder and Okaro White, who are both recovering from surgeries.

Miami, which signed White under similar circumstances last season, has a roster candidate playing for its G League affiliate, Winderman notes. Veteran swingman Alonzo Gee is averaging 17.8 points in five games with Sioux Falls. The 30-year-old, who last appeared in the NBA when he signed a 10-day contract with the Nuggets in January, has played for six teams in eight years.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • John Wall and Bradley Beal both used the word “selfish” to explain why the Wizards frequently suffer letdowns like the one that resulted in Wednesday’s loss to the Hawks, relays Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Washington was expected to be among the top teams in the East, but has dropped games to the Mavericks, Suns, Lakers, Clippers, Nets [twice] and Hawks, who all have losing records. “We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats,” Wall said.
  • At age 30, Marreese Speights has become a leader on a young Magic team, notes John Denton of NBA.com. Speights, who signed with Orlando this summer, has been around seasoned veterans throughout his career and is passing on the knowledge he gained to his new teammates. “You never know when this game is going to get taken away from you, and that happens to a lot of people, so you have to cherish it every time you get to play,’’ he said. “You have to understand this is bigger than what you think it is. I never take it for granted putting that jersey on.’’
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon will have a short stay in the G League, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The rookie out of Florida State made an impression Thursday with 45 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Swarm. “Barring injury to a Hornets player [Friday against Golden State], the plan is to have Bacon play in Greensboro tonight [i.e. Thursday] against Wisconsin, and then on Saturday in Iowa,” GM Rich Cho wrote in a text message. “We would then recall him after the game on Saturday and have him join [the Hornets] in LA.”

John Wall Likely To Return On Wednesday

Despite being upgraded to questionable for Tuesday’s game in Brooklyn, point guard John Wall appears more likely to return to action for the Wizards on Wednesday night, a source tells TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). Aldridge suggests that “all signs point” to the Wizards getting Wall back in their lineup in D.C. on Wednesday against the Grizzlies.

Wall, who last played for the Wizards on November 22, received platelet-rich plasma and viscosupplementation injections in his left knee last month, with the team estimating at the time that he’d take about two weeks to recover. Candace Buckner of The Washington Post indicated last Friday that Wall would need a few more days to get healthy, writing that he was on track to return in the middle of this week.

The Wizards have held their own without the former first overall pick, going 4-4 in his absence. Still, the team has underperformed a little this season, and will be looking to make a run to close out the year with Wall set to return to action. Washington has a 14-12 overall record, which is tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Wall has averaged 20.3 PPG and 9.2 APG in 16 games so far in 2017/18.

Southeast Notes: Wall, Belinelli, Heat, Hornets

Wizards point guard John Wall hasn’t taken the court since November 22, having received platelet-rich plasma and viscosupplementation injections in his left knee a few days after that. While Wall’s return isn’t imminent, it’s getting close, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. A source tells Buckner that Wall could get back in the lineup by the middle of next week.

The Wizards’ initial timeline for Wall projected a two-week recovery, which would have put him on track to return this weekend. However, as that same source tells Buckner, the club’s All-Star point guard needs a little more time to get healthy.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • Hawks sharpshooter Marco Belinelli will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, and recently told Massimo Lopes Pegna of La Gazzetta dello Sport (English link via Sportando) that his goal is to sign a two- or three-year contract. Belinelli left the door open for a possible return to Europe down the road, but it would be a surprise if he left the NBA anytime soon — he’s still just 31 years old, and his .393 3PT% will appeal to potential suitors.
  • The Heat entered this season hoping that their 30-11 second-half record last year was more indicative of their true talent level than their 11-30 first half. So far though, they’ve essentially split the difference, with an 11-13 mark. As the club struggles to get above .500, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald explores whether it was a misstep to give lucrative, long-term deals to James Johnson and Dion Waiters.
  • With Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky both sidelined due to injuries, the Hornets will have to make some adjustments to their frontcourt rotation, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, who identifies Johnny O’Bryant and Mangok Mathiang as two players who could benefit. O’Bryant is in the final year of his minimum-salary deal with Charlotte, while Mathiang is on a two-way contract — he was transferred back to the Hornets today.

Southeast Notes: Plumlee, Cavanaugh, Magic, Wall

With Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins sidelined by injuries, Miles Plumlee made his first start today since joining the Hawks, notes Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Plumlee, who was part of Atlanta’s return from the Hornets in this summer’s Dwight Howard trade, had to overcome a right quad injury last month. He had played just two games for Atlanta before today’s start, which saw him post six points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes.

Plumlee, who is making $12.5MM this season and each of the next two, may get an extended chance to show what he can do as a starter. Dedmon is projected to miss three to six weeks with a left tibia stress reaction, while Collins will be out at least two weeks with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. Plumlee was a full-time starter for the Suns during his second season in the league in 2013/14, but has been used mainly in a reserve role since.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Rookie power forward Tyler Cavanaugh may also see more playing time in the absence of Dedmon and Collins, Cunningham adds in the same story. The 23-year-old, who signed a two-way deal with the Hawks in early November, is mainly a stretch four, but was used in a lineup today with a point guard and three wings. Cunningham expects that alignment to continue until the front line is at full strength.
  • The Magic may need to consider trades to address their problems on defense, suggests Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando has been the worst defensive team in the league since November 11 based on points per possession and has lost 10 of 11 games in that span. Robbins points out that Jonathan Isaac‘s injury has been part of the problem, but adds that Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic all have issues on that end of the court.
  • Wizards guard John Wall provided an update on his injured left knee Friday, but isn’t sure when he’ll be able to play again, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. He had platelet-rich plasma treatment and viscosupplementation injections in the knee last weekend and is waiting for a medical report on how he is responding. Wall, who also this season has endured a sprained shoulder, sprained ankle, swollen knee, migraines and an illness that required an IV, said he tries to avoid missing games. “I’m the type of guy who likes to play through things,” he said. “It just got to the point where it was affecting my play. I tried to get through it as much as I could, but then everyone was like you have to care of it and think about the long-term, not just the short-term.”

Wizards Don’t Plan Roster Addition To Replace Wall

The Wizards will be without star guard John Wall for about two weeks, but probably won’t make a roster move to replace him, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

Washington has a roster opening, but coach Scott Brooks told reporters tonight that he does “not anticipate bringing anyone in.” The team has been carrying 14 players since waiving Carrick Felix at the start of the month.

Wall has been diagnosed with inflammation in his left knee and will get platelet-rich plasma injections to try to ease the pain. He received the first one today, along with a viscosupplementation shot (Twitter link). Wall has been dealing with soreness since November 7 in the wake of “knee-to-knee contact” during a game with the Mavericks. His earliest return date is probably December 9 against the Clippers in Los Angeles (Twitter link).

Brooks said he hopes rest, along with the injections, will “calm the knee down” enough for Wall to return by then (Twitter link). He added that “guys are ready to play bigger roles,” specifically Otto Porter and Markieff Morris, who has been taken off his minutes limit (Twitter link).

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