The Washington Wizards selected John Wall with the first pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. After a 10-year stretch filled with decent highs and lows, the organization ultimately traded him away to the Houston Rockets this year in a four-team deal that landed James Harden in Brooklyn.
Wall is not happy with how things ended between him and his former club. In a lengthy interview with Fred Katz of The Athletic, Wall went into great detail regarding his grievances:
“I felt like I deserved the honesty and respect because I’ve been there for 10 years. I’ve been through the bad times, when we had sh—y teams and when we had good teams in D.C. I never turned my back on the organization. I played through damn near every injury that a lot of people wouldn’t have played through. I played through broken hands in the playoffs. I think I did everything I could and gave everything I had, heart and soul to the organization on and off the court.
“Then everybody kept telling me, ‘No, it’s not true. Don’t believe it. Don’t believe it.’ And I’m like, I know Houston probably called them first. But it’s part of the business. Why wouldn’t you call if somebody wants to be traded? You know what I mean? And it’s not nothing, just having conversations. And that’s all I wanted. If you’re having conversations, that’s cool, I get it. Nobody could ever tell me the truth about it.”
Ultimately, Wall had to get the news of his impending move from a third-party source:
“Somebody hit me and was like, ‘You know you’re on the trade block with Russell Westbrook.’ I’m like, ‘Ain’t no way I’m on the trade block.’
“You know what I mean? I haven’t played in (two) years. And I was like, I know it’s part of the business. I said all I ever wanted from the start was honesty. You know what I mean? Just tell me the truth, what it was. I can deal with it.”
And it wasn’t just Washington’s dishonesty that bothered Wall; it was the overall lack of faith in his ability to bounce back and ultimately win with Bradley Beal:
“The number one goal is, you didn’t give me the opportunity for me and Brad to run it back, like y’all said we (would). That was (my) and our ultimate goal. It was, ‘OK, we’re gonna give it one more shot.’ If it’s just one year or two years, we were gonna give it one more shot just to see. …
“And it’s just crazy we never got to do that. I don’t think they wanted to do that. I think they moved forward and did whatever they wanted, which is cool. But that was the most frustrating thing than anything. Like, to have an opportunity to run it back with my brother and playing with the guy, the level he’s on now.”
While Wall is obviously and understandably upset with how things went down in D.C., he seems to be in a decent situation now. He will either remain with the Rockets and be their new franchise star, or he could get traded again.
The Wizards, meanwhile, are in a rough place. They still aren’t good, and while Beal has remained patient up to this point, the writing is on the wall regarding him getting dealt too.
A few days back Washington’s front office quietly made their asking price for Beal known, and Beal has similarly casually provided a list of five teams he would be willing to accept a trade to.
The Wall- and Beal-led Wizards were a fun group, but their time has come and gone. Although Wall’s frustration with his old team is understandable, but that’s all in the past now. His energy would be best utilized focusing on what the future holds, and the sooner he realizes that, the more he’ll be able to return to his old form.