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NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on John Wall's Recovery and Bradley Beal's Future

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2019

Washington Wizards guard John Wall walks off the court during a timeout during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA offseason may go down as the most notable in recent memory. It has changed the immediate course for several franchises—for better and for worse—and has set the stage for a competitive and intriguing 2019-20 season.

Just consider some of the moves that have been made since the start of free agency: The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis, the Brooklyn Nets got Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Los Angeles Clippers added Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, and the Houston Rockets traded for Russell Westbrook.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, meanwhile, lost both George and Westbrook while adding Chris Paul.

One franchise that didn't dramatically change directions during the offseason is the Washington Wizards. They added Isaiah Thomas and Ishmael Smith but otherwise did little to impact a roster that went 32-50 this past season.

Perhaps more importantly, Washington has gotten little clarity on the future of its two biggest stars, John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall is recovering from a torn Achilles, while Beal continues to be one of the most enticing potential trade chips in the league.

What does the future hold for Wall, Beal and the Wizards? Let's dig into some of the latest buzz.

    

Wall Willing to Sit Out Entire Season...if Necessary

Wall suffered a ruptures Achilles in February. This places most if not all of his 2019-20 season in doubt.

According to ESPN Stats & Information Group (h/t Neil Paine of FiveThiryEight.com), the historical average for an Achilles tear is 269 days—or roughly nine months. DeMarcus Cousins, who is 24 days older than Wall, took almost a full year before returning from the same injury.

It's been roughly six months since Wall's injury, which means we probably won't see the 28-year-old again until the end of the year at the earliest—if we see him at all this season.

According to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, we probably won't.

"There are many within the organization that do not expect Wall to return until 2020-21," he wrote.

This meshes with what Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis told Hughes in July.

"Our highest-paid player, our five-time All-Star, may not play at all next year. He probably won't play at all next year," he said.

While Wall isn't excited about the prospect of missing an entire season, he said he will if he has to.

"I'm not willing to, but that's what the doctor says and that's what the team says," he said, per Hughes. "To have an organization that cares for me and understands me and respects me, that is not trying to force me to come back super early, that's the most important thing."

Even if Wall were to return before the end of the coming season, there isn't much reason to, barring a surprise playoff push. Being able to play isn't the same as being ready for the same workload and role Wall had before the injury.

        

Will Beal Sign His Contract Extension?

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Wall's recovery could impact Beal's decision on whether to sign the three-year, $111 million contract extension he has been offered—depending on how he views the direction of the franchise during Wall's absence.

"There's nothing that needs to be decided at this moment. There's a lot for Brad to consider," Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said, per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post

One reason why the 26-year-old may not agree to the extension is simple: He doesn't have to. He has two years remaining on his current contract and could set himself up for a bigger payday by waiting.

According to salary-cap analyst Albert Nahmad (h/t Dan Devine of The Ringer), waiting until next offseason could net Beal a four-year extension worth upwards of $154.6 million. If he can make the All-NBA team, he'll be eligible for a supermax deal and even more money.

Of course, a disastrous season without Wall could cause Beal to simply want to play elsewhere after his current contract is up.

These are all risks the Wizards have to consider. While they currently aren't looking to trade Beal, that stance could change within the next 12 months.

It's not like there hasn't been interest around the league in acquiring him. The Clippers, for example, looked into a Beal trade before acquiring George, according to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

While trading Beal would provide Washington with a lot of trade value, it would also put the franchise on course for a sizeable rebuild, something Wall hopes doesn't happen.

"At the end of the day, nobody feels comfortable with a rebuild," Wall said, per Michael Lee of The Athletic (warning: NSFW language). "I don’t like to lose. I went through that my first couple of years. Me and Brad are brothers."

Perhaps this desire to continue playing with Beal has given Wall optimism, but the five-time All-Star does see Beal eventually signing the extension.

"I think he'll sign it," Wall said, per Hughes. "Brad's a very smart guy. He's going to make the best decision for himself and the organization."

The big question right now is whether Wall will make the best decision now or if he'll leave the Wizards waiting until next summer.