Scott Brooks Says Wizards Have 'Moved On' from John Wall Practice AltercationNovember 20, 2018
Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said Tuesday that the team is moving on from a contentious past week that included reports of fighting amongst players and star point guard John Wall saying "F--k you" to Brooks during a practice before later apologizing, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com:
"It happened last week. We moved on from it as a team. Not trying to minimize what happened, but in all sports, all teams I've been on—I've been in the league for almost 30 years as a player, as an assistant coach, as a head coach—that has happened.
"It's something that you understand that it's a competitive environment and a lot of times, you have adult conversations that get heated. And we all have to live with what we say and work things out when that does happen and move on."
According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, last Thursday's practice got heated, with Bradley Beal and Austin Rivers having a confrontation and Wall and Jeff Green having another before Wall hurled the obscenity at Brooks, for which he was later fined.
And when Beal decided the team should air out its dirty laundry, tensions only rose:
"Just before the huddle, people who were present for the moment recounted, [Beal] said something along the lines of, 'Let’s get it all out. Everybody say what you want to say.'
"A bunch of players did just that and it got heated.
"Beal walked off the floor. That's when he said he was tired of the direction the group was heading, according to sources. It’s when he gestured to team president Ernie Grunfeld and declared, 'I've been dealing with this s--t for seven years. It starts top-down,' as The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday."
In the aftermath of the contentious practice—and amidst the team's disappointing 5-11 start to the season—Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Wizards were making every player on the roster available in trade talks, even its stars:
"The Wizards have resisted involving Wall or Beal in previous trade talks, including discussions that they held for the league's past two available stars, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, league sources said. While Washington hasn't shopped its All-Star backcourt, it is rapidly becoming apparent to the organization that it needs to start considering overtures for them."
Beal is the most tradeable of the bunch. The 25-year-old is three years younger than Wall, has a far more palatable contract and a skill set that better fits the modern NBA, offering superior floor-spacing and perimeter shooting. But he is also arguably Washington's best player, making him the star they should be building around going forward.
But while Beal will undoubtedly have countless suitors, Wall may be impossible to trade. For one, he has a 15 percent trade kicker:
For another, Wall's four-year, $170 million contract extension kicks in next season. For a high-usage point guard who isn't particularly impactful on defense, has never been a consistent perimeter shooter and appears to have taken a step back this season, that's an enormous salary-cap burden.
Yes, Wall still has blistering pace and is extremely dangerous in transition. But he isn't the sort of transcendent superstar worth that contract. As Zach Lowe of ESPN.com aptly noted, "Wall is a lot like Russell Westbrook: Explosive, lacking a reliable jumper, with a bad habit of turning into a statue off the ball. Westbrook is just way better."
Plenty of teams nonetheless would take a player like Wall on their team. It seems less likely that many will be jumping at the opportunity to add Wall's salary, however.
In the interim, the Wizards have to make it work.
"We've got to keep moving," Beal noted. "It's easy when you're losing to pinpoint it on, 'Oh, there's problems. They don't get along. They fight.' It's easy to do that. It's easy to do that.
"I'm not going to get caught up in it and my team damn sure isn't, so we're just going to come out and compete every night and do what we can to win. Because that's what we're here to do."