If there remains a buzz about the possibility of Kevin Durant joining the Wizards in free agency, it is happening at pretty modest audible levels. Wizards fans, meanwhile, now appear about as optimistic about the prospect as they do about their team winning a championship anytime soon. Sure, when John Wall appears on ESPN, or when Jared Dudley appears on ESPN 980, the Durant questions still come up. The answers, though, aren’t particularly hopeful.
Dudley — a free agent who has said he’d like to return to Washington — was recently asked by Kevin Sheehan whether he sees the Wizards landing Durant this summer.
“I realistically don’t,” Dudley said. “I hope for the fans they do, because he’s from there, and he would bring such excitement. They’d be right behind Cleveland, right there with them to be able to contend. I don’t see it though.”
Well that was cheerful!
So why don’t mega stars ever choose the Wizards? Dudley said it’s about NBA rules more than it’s about Washington, with the league rewarding stars who remain with their current teams.
“It’s the system the NBA built,” he said. “In general, no star player’s leaving to go to another team. … The system’s built for these guys to stay. Guys like Kevin Durant, Al Horford: The Wizards most likely will be going after these players, as they should. Are they really going to leave that money on the table?”
Dudley said since mega free agency is a low-percentage play, teams like the Wizards need to focus on drafting well, developing their young pieces and then trading assets for a star player. But he also said the Wizards have a good chance to land some type of star player in free agency; “not an all-star, but right underneath that,” he said. “And I think that they have another all-star on their team in Bradley Beal.”
“Right now I’m just giving him his space,” Wall said. “When the time is right, I’ll throw my pitch at him and see if we have a chance. If we don’t, we have to go in another way and have our Plan B.”
And what will Wall’s message be?
“I think he understands and knows what it is to play here in D.C. and the DMV area,” Wall said. “He’s from here. I think the most important thing is going to probably be [that] a lot of people are nervous to come back and play at home. You never know how much you’re going to have to deal with family and all that, and all the tickets and things like that. But he understands and I think he knows: It’s just all about what he feels in his heart and what’s best for him.”
Dudley — who earlier told The Post that he was seeking a three-year deal in free agency — also reiterated that he would love to return to Washington.
“Yes, we missed the playoffs, but people really don’t realize, we missed the playoffs by one game,” Dudley said. “Bradley Beal missed over 25 games. I mean, that’s not happening [again]. He’s going to be back. And even if I’m not back with the Wizards, that team’s making the playoffs. They’re too good, too talented, they had too many injuries. So expect the Wizards [in the playoffs] no matter what happens — they could sign no one, and they’re going to be back in the playoffs next year.”