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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the two formerly off-limits guards are now available, though they’re not necessarily shopping either player. Washington is 5-11 and has played with a listlessness on both ends of the floor unbecoming of the talent level on the roster.
The Wizards had hoped to salvage the Wall-Beal backcourt and find a third star by trading Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre. Neither player has generated much traction in trade talks, leading the Wizards to consider shaking up the guard dynamic.
Beal is the more attractive of the two trade pieces for other teams, given his age, contract and level of play. It’s been fair to wonder whether Beal has usurped Wall as the Wizards’ best player for two years now. He’s a solid secondary ball-handler who can score off the dribble and stretches the defense while playing both ends of the floor. There’s almost no system in which Beal wouldn’t thrive.
Wall, on the other hand, is a completely different test case. His supermax contract does not kick in until next season, and he’s already showing signs of slippage. His 7.9 assists per game are the second-lowest of his career, and he’s spent most of the season playing sulky, half-interested basketball. Box-score watchers may look at his numbers and think he’s playing near his peak, but the effort has not been there.
The suitors for Wall will be limited because of his contract. He’ll make $46.9 million in 2022-23. The Wizards would likely take that contract back right now if they could.
That said, trading Wall would be far easier now than next summer when his cap number nearly doubles. If the Wizards are going to do it, now would be the time.