For better or worse, the Wizards became Bradley Beal’s team in 2020. John Wall tore his Achilles in 2019, and most likely won’t play again until whenever the next season starts. Beal was having his best individual campaign until NBA play was suspended, averaging career highs in points (30.5) and assists (4.2), leading Washington to the 13th-best offense in the league. Beal proved he could at least lead an entertaining outfit if not necessarily a winning one, though the Wizards’ front office was in a bind with all the money tied to Wall.
Beal entered this season as an oft-rumored trade target, but he quelled those urges by signing an extension, keeping him under contract through 2022, with a player option for 2023. Wall’s deal is the same in structure, except he starts making over $40 million a year beginning next season. As observers wonder whether or not paying this duo—particularly with Wall’s injury history—makes sense, the truth is, the Wizards may not have a choice.
Washington isn’t really in a great position to blow up the roster. Moving Wall sounds interesting in theory, but trading him almost certainly won’t yield any assets in return. If anything, the Wizards would have to attach pieces to entice other teams...and their most intriguing chip is Beal. If getting rid of both guys ends up being the only way to start over, it may behoove the front office to give Wall and Beal a couple more chances at making it work.
When healthy, the duo was good enough to produce a consistent playoff participant. Wall can’t be expected to come back as the same player, though a more competent front office could put the right pieces around its backcourt. Ultimately, the Wizards may be stuck with Wall if it wants to keep Beal as well, and that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. The romantic in me wants to believe Wall and Beal can still produce a winner together, and the front office can give them a chance to do so without doubling down beyond their current contracts.