After the Wizards fell to 7-13 with a home loss to Orlando on Tuesday, despite a career-high 52 points from John Wall, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser suggested it might be time for Ted Leonsis’s franchise to make a major change . . . but not necessarily to the front office.
“I would think that we have to think the unthinkable with the Wizards and think about trading Wall right now,” Kornheiser said on Wednesday’s episode of “Pardon the Interruption.” “You can’t get anything for [Bradley] Beal. He plays 50 games a year. . . . Wall just had a career game. He accounted, if you factor in his eight assists, for at least 68 points, and the team was never in the game. So here is somebody who gave you his best effort, and they can’t win. As constituted now, they can’t win. You’re going to say, ‘Who do you want?’ I don’t have that, but I know that with Wall and Beal, even though they think they’re the greatest backcourt in the country, they’re not, and I think you have to consider at this point that John Wall is not making the other players better and getting something for John Wall.”
Kornheiser isn’t alone. Last week, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons said that if he ran the Wizards, he would “just move [Wall] for picks and do a complete tankapalooza and try to rebuild and put myself in a much better spot.”
“This is sad to me because, just two years ago, the Wizards had twice advanced in the playoffs and they had a formula with a coach, Randy Wittman, who understood that group of players,” Mike Wilbon said to Kornheiser. “Don’t blame it on Scott Brooks. Blame it on management for saying you’ve got to play ‘space and pace’ as if they had acquired Steph Curry over the summer.”
“They’re a disaster,” Kornheiser said. “In the last 30 years, do you know how many times they have started out, after the first 20 games, above .500?”
Wilbon guessed six. The correct answer, as Dan Steinberg noted in a post Wednesday, is two.
“So their formula isn’t working, and the one piece of value they have is John Wall,” Kornheiser said.
Wall wasn’t the only D.C. sports star Wilbon and Kornheiser discussed Wednesday in the context of a possible trade. Earlier in the show, Wilbon asked whether the Nationals should consider trading Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper now if they’re convinced they won’t be able to sign him after the 2018 season.
“It’s not inevitable that Harper will leave,” Kornheiser said. “Harper grew up wanting to be the center fielder in Yankee Stadium. If it is determined by the Nats that they can’t shake him from that tree at all, then maybe you trade him. Here’s the problem with trading him right now. He didn’t just have a subpar season [last year]; he had a .243 season. Nobody is going to trade you equal value off an MVP year for someone who just batted .243. By the same token, nobody is going to give a .243 hitter $400 million. That’s not going to happen.
“The way I look at Bryce Harper now is just like this. It’s sort of like you put the franchise tag on him. You have to wait and see what he does this year. Do you have somebody you can trade because he’s an MVP, or do you have somebody who bats .243? So you wait and see what he does this year. Two years is a long time, Mike. Two years ago, nobody would’ve said Donald Trump would become president of the United States. Nobody.”
Two years ago, nobody thought people would seriously suggest the Wizards trade John Wall. Coming Thursday on PTI, maybe: Should the Capitals trade Alex Ovechkin? Should the Redskins consider moving Trent Williams to guard?