Again, Falk is not down on John Wall, whom he said has about an 18-month window to develop court sense and become a special player. “He might, but I don’t think he’ll be a much smarter player,” he said. “You can’t become a smart player. You either are or you aren’t.”
“If I own this team, the only guy I’d keep is Bradley Beal,” Falk continued. “I would trade John Wall before what you wrote [Sunday] is wrong.”
Okay then, time for lightning round.
Falk on Nene: “He’s not going to win on this team. He knows it. He doesn’t want to be here. By the time Washington is good, how old is Nene going to be?”
Falk on Okafor and Ariza: “You paid about $29 million for them when [you] could have had [Falk client] Elton Brand for $2.1 million after he was amnestied? Would you rather have a Mercedes for $20,000, or a broken-down Chevy and broken-down Yugo for $250,000?”
On why Falk has attended just four games this season: “ ‘Cause the team is going nowhere. Randy [Wittman] is doing a great job with minimal talent. You’re one of two things in the NBA: either one player away from contending or you’re rebuilding. The Wizards are in limbo. I love Ernie [Grunfeld] and Ted [Leonsis], but I’d rather have Orlando’s team in four years. I wouldn’t want [Jordan] Crawford. You think [Jan] Vesely is going to turn into this year’s number six pick, Damian Lillard from Portland? No, he’s not. And [Trevor] Booker isn’t going to turn into Blake Griffin. . . . I like Beal. That’s it.
(In this insta-Web world where this story was originally posted on The Post’s site at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Falk has already apologized, via Michael Lee, to the Wizards and Wall for airing his comments publicly. He called me late Thursday afternoon after some incendiary backlash for his comments. I was convinced again that his frustration as a longtime fan had gotten the best of him and he was merely tired of me and other local media using a small blip of progress to mean Wall had arrived as a premier point guard and that it provided real evidence he should be re-signed to an extension this summer.)
I had communicated with Wall on Tuesday night via the Internet. You always want to get the other side. But this was awkward, essentially grade-schoolish: “Hey, John, Falk thinks you’re lousy. What do you think of that?”
Apprised of the gist of Falk’s comments, Wall wrote back that he had no desire to issue a response — which, if you think about it, is actually the big news.
A proud 22-year-old is skewered by the agent who represented the greatest single performer in basketball at the height of Jordan’s fame, during a chaotic year in which Wall, barely mentioned anymore in conversations about the league’s top young point guards, had real doubt about whether his knee was going to hold up and afford him the explosiveness that gave him this great life.
And it comes on the heels of the team’s recent four-game winning streak, led by a suddenly hungry and healthy . . . John Wall.
That kid, whom Falk says isn’t going to get it, let the words float by, lost in the ether of nothingness.
Let me ask you a question: Is there a better feel for the game than that?
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.