Instant analysis: Wizards trade John Wall, first-round pick to Houston for Russell Westbrook(VIDEO)

In a move that has been rumored for weeks, the Washington Wizards have reportedly traded six-time All-Star John Wall and 2023 protected first-round pick to the Rockets for former league MVP Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Both Wall and Westbrook reportedly wanted to be traded, and if that’s true, they both got their wish. Both players have three years left on their contracts at $132 million. The 30-year-old Wall missed all of last season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Wall will now be teamed with James Harden in Houston, which should be interesting because there were reports that Harden wanted out of Houston. However, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Houston hopes to be competitive with him this season and does not envision a scenario where Harden would be traded before the opener.

For the 32-year-old Westbrook, this is an opportunity to reunite with his former coach in OKC, Scott Brooks, and a chance for Westbrook and Bradley Beal to lead the Wizards back to the playoffs, which should happen for Washington. 

Both players probably needed a change of scenery, and both players will have a lot to prove. Is Russell Westbrook, who averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game last season, a declining asset? For Wall, can he become the player that he used to be before the injuries? 

Time will tell.

Listen below:

Wizards’ Avdija on team’s roster: ‘I think it’s very talented’

With the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected Israel’s Deni Avdija, the first Israeli born player to be drafted in the lottery. The 19-year-old forward has been a professional in Israel since the age of 16, so while he young, he does have some experience.

While in Israel, the 6-9 Avdija played small forward, but he has shown the ability to handle the ball, and some believe he could be a point forward at the NBA level. And when it’s all said, Avdija hopes to work hard and maximize his talents. 

When asked what his goals are in the NBA, Avdija said the following.

“First of all, to bring my work ethic from back here. Just keep improving every day, be a better player every day, help the team as much as I can. At the end of my career to look at it and say I was the best Deni Avdija I could be, and I don’t regret anything. It’s a great journey ahead of me, and I’m super excited.”

Avdija’s father, Zufer, played professionally in Serbia and Israel in the 1980s, and according to Avdija, he has learned a lot from his father.

“It was great. It was great to have another competitive spirit in the house,” Avdija said. “He was a great player himself, so he had a lot of good things to teach me and teach me how to act on the court, some small tricks maybe in my game that I use that he used, and just how to be a professional, how to work hard, how to have good work ethic, and just always be competitive and just play to win. That was big for me.”

Next season, the Wizards are expected to have their dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal back together, which will help immensely. According to Avdija, the Wizards have a talented team.

“I think it’s very talented,” Avdija said. “I’m ready to meet everybody and get straight to work. Hopefully, we can grind and have a good season. I’m just going to bring the best for the team, and hopefully, we can win as many games as we can.”

Don’t expect Avdija to come into the NBA and contribute right away. He’s a young player, so it will take time for him to develop. In the end, this pick was not about today; it’s about tomorrow. 

 

John Wall on Kyrie’s trade request: ‘If I had been to three straight Finals, I’d want to stay’

Just like the rest of the NBA, Wizards G John Wall was very surprised when he heard that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland reportedly to have bigger role with another team.

Wall shared his thoughts on Irving’s trade request after his press conference to announce his supermax extension with the Wizards on Friday:

“That was crazy to me. I didn’t know that was happening at all. Well, too bad. It’s kinda tough. If I had been to three straight Finals, I’d want to stay but you never know what type of relationship or what type of details they have going on the backside. Nobody knows what’s going on behind closed doors. He’s one of those guys who wants to be the main guy,” Wall said.

“It’s a different situation when you’re playing with a guy like LeBron James who is so dominant. Everyone is always going to be the second guy to him. It’s kind of like what I tell all the young guys when they first come into the league. It’s kind of tough to get the young guys to play as one on the floor because everybody is trying to build their name up and start their own foundation. It’s kind of tough when you’re always in the shadow of somebody else. That’s something he probably got tired of.”

Irving’s trade request could be a good thing for the Wizards. Maybe the Cavs won’t be the same team after an Irving trade, or maybe it won’t matter. if I’m Wall, I’m really hoping that LeBron James goes to the Western Conference next summer!

John Wall on Wizards: ‘We are one piece away’

The Washington Wizards were one game away from making the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Unfortunately for Washington, they would lose to Boston in game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. All-star point guard John Wall believes his Wizards need another star to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.  The star that Wall wants to get is Indiana’s Paul George. The 27-year-old George has been recently linked to the Cavaliers in a rumored three-team deal. George has told the Pacers that he will opt out of his contract at the end of next season, and will look to move on to another team.

Wall had this to say to ESPN’s The Undefeated:

“Look at our team. We are one piece away. We have the point guard, we have the shooting guard, we have the center, we have the power forward. Our 3-man (Otto Porter Jr.) did great for us. You can’t take nothing away from what he did. But, [Paul George] is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It’s a piece that you’re going to need to win. If you don’t have a guy who can do that, you don’t have a chance.” 

Wall told The Undefeated that he would try to recruit George, with the hope that he can get George to request a trade to the Wizards.

If the Wizards can find a way to get George, they definitely could compete with Cleveland. Many believed that Washington could have given the Cavaliers a much harder test than the Celtics did in the Eastern Conference Finals this year.

Wall is right, Washington is one piece away, but to get George might be a long shot for the Wizards, especially since George can opt of his contract and become a free agent at the end of next season. Plus, George is reportedly interested in being with the Lakers at some point. Therefore, it could be just a one year thing.

Wall and the Wizards may have to look elsewhere to find that missing piece.

 

John Wall on the Celtics wearing black: ‘It was just funny to me’

The Celtics prepared for a funeral tonight in Washington. Some Celtics players wore all black as they walked into the Verizon Center, for game 6 on Friday. However, the Wizards’ funeral is going to have wait another day. Thanks to a clutch John Wall three late in the 4th quarter, the Wizards were able force a game 7 after beating the Celtics 92-91. Game 7 is Monday night in Boston.

Here is what Wall and Bradley Beal had to say about the Celtics wearing black:

Isaiah Thomas drops 53 points; Boston takes 2-0 series lead

Isaiah Thomas is doing some amazing things in these playoffs. However, Tuesday’s performance was extra amazing. Thomas scored a career high 53 points on 18-33 from the field. He scored 29 points in 4th quarter and OT, as the Celtics beat the Wizards 129-119 in OT to take a 2-0 series lead. He did all this on his late sister Chyna’s 23rd birthday.  Meanwhile, for the Wizards, John Wall had 40 points! 

What an amazing run for Thomas and the Celtics. Boston has now won five straight games in these playoffs after losing the first two games to the Bulls. Thomas becomes the only player in Celtics’ history to score 50 points in the regular and postseason in the same season. Thomas falls one point short of the Celtics’ record for most points in a playoff game (Havlicek 54pts). It is amazing to see a little guy like Thomas put up these ridiculous numbers. It’s impossible to root against this guy, but this series is not over.

Expect the Wizards to play well in Washington!

John Wall on loss to Jazz: ‘We didn’t lose this game. The refs made us lose this game’

John Wall is definitely going to owe the NBA some money after last night.  Wall was none too happy after the Wizards’ 95-88 lost to the Jazz. The Wizards did lose last night, but Wall felt his team was not the reason:

“We didn’t lose this game. The refs made us lose this game. We fought hard to give ourselves a chance. But you don’t shoot 31 free throws to 16 the way we attack the basket as a team. That’s how I feel about it.”