With the draft and free agency crunched into the same week, it was easy for some storylines to get lost in the mix. One of those was the John Wall saga, which for a variety of reasons wasn't the first thing everyone wanted to talk about in regards to the NBA. But now, after Washington Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard held a press conference on Monday, it's being forced into the limelight.
When talking to reporters, Sheppard said that the Wizards have no plans to trade Wall. He also declared that the former All-Star has never requested a trade, and has consistently been on the same page as Bradley Beal. "There's no issue with John and I, with John and the Wizards," Sheppard said.
This comes in a wake of a tumultuous week, in which there were reports that the Wizards were looking into the possibility of trading Wall for Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook. Those rumors getting out then led to a frustrated Wall reportedly requesting a trade. In short, things weren't going well in Washington.
It's not at all surprising that Sheppard would come out and try to calm things down publicly. Whatever's going on behind the scenes, confirming all of the rumors and telling the press that you're trying to trade one of the team's cornerstones wouldn't help the situation. Not only would it make finding a trade -- already a difficult prospect considering Wall's injury and contract situation -- more challenging, but it would frustrate a fan base that hasn't seen the team win a playoff series in nearly four years.
Whatever happens, the Wizards have an interesting season ahead of them. Wall will be returning to the court after missing nearly two years with major injuries, including a torn Achilles tendon, and is now apparently agitating to get out of town. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal's future with the team is not secure either, despite signing a two-year extension last fall. Add in the lottery picks the Wizards have added in the last few years, and you have a whole bunch of plates to juggle.
Right now they're in a state of limbo, and it would be reasonable to wait and see how the first few months of the season go before making any major changes. If Wall returns at something close to his pre-injury level, and is able to form a dynamic partnership with Beal once again, the team may decide to try and challenge for the playoffs. But if not, moving Beal for a big package, and trying to trade Wall as well to go all-in on a youth movement could make sense as well.
The Wizards aren't going to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference this season, but they will be one of the most interesting to pay attention to, both on and off the court.