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As the saying goes, pressure creates diamonds. Apparently, it can also cause NBA front offices to reevaluate the state of their respective franchises. After a 5-11 start to the season, it’s been reported that every player on the Washington Wizards roster would be available in potential trade talks, including guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.
After being reluctant to include either of the guards in trade discussions in the past, Washington’s horrid start to the season has sparked a change of heart. Ranking 21st in offensive rating and 29th of 30 teams in defensive rating, the Wizards have struggled immensely on both ends of the court. For context, check out an excerpt below from an article written by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“Washington’s preference remains to reshape the team around Wall and Beal, but poor play among key teammates is limiting their trade value and paralyzing the Wizards’ efforts to make meaningful changes to a roster that no longer appears functional together, league sources said.”
Making the All-Star team in each of the last five seasons, Wall has built a reputation for himself as one of the better point guards in the league. Now 28 years old, the veteran is now in the thick of his athletic prime. Despite missing half of last season due to injury, the former Kentucky standout still managed to post averages of 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 9.6 assists per game.
A first-time All-Star a year ago, Beal is the younger option. The 25-year-old is currently averaging 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this season.
After winning just 29 games in the 2012-13 season, Washington has posted win totals of 44, 46, 41, 49 and 43 in the subsequent five years. Under head coach Scott Brooks, the team is 97-83. It’s long been brought up whether or not the duo of Wall/Beal has reached its peak, and it appears that the rumors are coming to light again this season.
Wall’s contract is going to be difficult to move, as his upcoming contract extension is set to pay him over $42 million per year on average over four seasons. A 15% trade kicker only complicates things more. Beal’s deal is much more manageable, as it yields him $55 million over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
Just 16 games into an 82-game season, there’s still time for Washington to right the ship. Nonetheless, a team that’s been stuck in generally the same position for years might have a move or two on the horizon as the 2018-19 campaign unfolds.