The Washington Wizards may be ready to make some big changes to their flailing team. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wizards are “giving the impression” that no player on their entire roster is off-limits in trade talks. And of course, that includes two of the team’s best players, guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Until recently, that wasn’t the case at all. Wojnarowski reported that both Wall and Beal had been kept out of recent trade conversations, even for Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. The Wizards wanted to build around Wall and Beal, but the players they had made available — Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre — didn’t fetch the offers they were hoping for.
Why the change, especially after a recent three-game winning streak that helped lift the spirits of fans and players? Looking deeper into those wins provides a little clarity. They were against the Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs are a shocking mess, the Heat has a record under .500, and the Magic are barely above .500. It’s not like they defeated the Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The two games after that winning streak brought everyone back down to Earth. On Friday they lost to the Brooklyn Nets, a team barely better than the Magic, and on Sunday they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, an actual good team. And coach Scott Brooks continued to deny there are any leadership issues, instead pointing the finger at his players’ effort level.
Brooks on if there's a leadership issue: "No, there's a play-hard issue."
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 19, 2018
And Brooks took it even farther. Via ESPN:
“We got to just play with more enthusiasm, more effort, more energy,” Brooks told reporters on Sunday night. “It’s embarrassing.”
The Wizards currently have a 5-11 record. Despite what Brooks said, the team’s issues likely go beyond “enthusiasm” and “effort.” Wojnarowski’s report indicates that the Wizards leadership doesn’t see a way to resolve or even just mitigate them. Wall and Beal have value, but it may start (and continue) to decrease the longer they play on this less-than-impressive Wizards team.
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