“Your first steps are just figuring out where we’re going to stay,” he said.
The Miles family researched neighborhoods, price ranges and distances to and from the Wizards’ practice facility in Southeast Washington and Dulles International Airport, where the team charters flights to away games. They have a young daughter and two Dobermans and wanted — needed — a big yard. The search wasn’t yielding much success until Bradley Beal delivered the first assist to his new teammate: He offered to rent out his former McLean mansion.
“We looked at a couple of apartments. We looked at a couple houses,” Miles said. “And then the Brad thing just kind of fell in our lap.”
Before this season, Miles and 12 other new players, as well as three assistant coaches and the team’s medical executive, descended upon the District. They all needed homes.
“I don’t remember that many people at one time,” said Sashia Jones, the team’s vice president of player engagement.
Because players and staffers spend so much time on the road and inside gymnasiums, where they decide to lease for 10 months becomes their refuge. Over the summer, the newest Wizards found sanctuaries throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs as well as trendy Northwest neighborhoods. The team planted its three rookies — Rui Hachimura, Admiral Schofield and Justin Robinson — inside the same waterside Southeast apartment.
“Every day we always call each other on FaceTime to see what we’re doing in our apartment,” Robinson said. “Sometimes [Hachimura] comes to my room or just meet at Scho’s.”
The veteran Wizards, however, needed more than a college atmosphere, and their wish lists varied. Davis Bertans desired an open layout. Moritz Wagner wanted a big-city feel. Daniel Medina, a member of the Wizards’ revamped training staff, sought a home near a French immersion school for his children. With help from the Wizards’ shared services department — and in Miles’s case, a teammate looking to unload a house — the new guys found homes.
Isaiah Thomas actually credits his better half for the family’s new spot.
“My wife finds the nicest places and the schools,” Thomas said. “I ain’t got to do nothing.”
With Thomas bouncing between three cities over the past two years, his wife, Kayla, has become a realty expert. She nails the priorities: school district and distance to the practice facility and arena. Although the family had opted to rent houses in their past few stops, after Thomas signed a one-year deal with Washington, they chose a condominium near Arlington.
“The place we got now is kind of like the place we had in Boston. We’re comfortable with that,” said Thomas, who also has a killer view, “I can see the Pentagon. I can see D.C. We’re kind of by the airport, too, so we see the planes every couple of minutes.”
If Ish Smith cared about what’s outside his window, he would have chosen to live in the city. The point guard, an admitted fan of HGTV shows such as “House Hunters,” understands a view is a must-have for most buyers.
“I’ve got a couple properties back home that I rent out, and I’m learning different things and stuff like that. Like a view is important,” Smith said. “I get it! [On TV] they say, ‘No popcorn ceilings.’ So now when I go in and look at places, I say, ‘Oooh, they got popcorn ceilings!’ They’re like, ‘Where’d you get that one from?’ I’m like, ‘HGTV!’ ”
Smith didn’t complain about the ceiling textures during his search, but he did require another “House Hunters” staple: space to entertain. Specifically, he wanted a quiet and roomy apartment in Alexandria, so when his nieces and nephews visit he wouldn’t have to blow up an air mattress like at his old place in Birmingham, Mich. The former Detroit Piston was so content with the spacious interior here that he gave up the luxury of garage parking.
“I got to park outside my freakin’ apartment,” Smith said. “[But] when you get older, different things you want and you like … I guess you prioritize different when you get older.”
Married with a newborn, Bertans prioritized the adage “happy wife, happy life.” He picked a Northwest apartment — where former Wizards player Kelly Oubre Jr. once lived, Bertans was told — for the big-city conveniences. On most days, Anna Bertans can leave her Tesla charging in the underground garage and still easily get around.
“We’ve got a baby that’s 10 months old and living in San Antonio, living in a house, everywhere was a drive [of] 20 minutes,” said Bertans, who played for the Spurs from 2016 to 2019. “Here … a five-minute walk, she’s in Georgetown. Five-minute, 10-minute walk in a different direction, there’s a grocery store and everything.”
Wagner, too, needed the action of D.C., but he couldn’t stand apartment buildings. They feel too much like the hotels he stays in on the road, he said. So Wagner’s real estate agent found him a Northwest townhouse with private parking.
“It’s pretty nice,” Wagner said. “I got lucky.”
Being “lucky” hasn’t spared him from encountering unwanted company. The city’s epic rat problem is well-known, and Wagner has reported seeing “a bunch of them.”
“I had a dead rat in front of my house. I think it jumped off the roof or something. I don’t know what happened,” Wagner said, then deadpanned, “Yeah, it was beautiful.
“It’s like city life, that’s how it is,” added Wagner, who didn’t have to clean up the mess. (The landlord did.)
But Wagner’s super might not compare to Miles’s all-star landlord.
“I was trying to sell it,” Beal said. “[Miles] came to town. He said he didn’t have any luck with finding houses because he has a big family. … [Our arrangement] is convenient. It’s convenient for everybody.”
The players’ significant others actually brokered the deal. Kamiah Adams messaged Lauren Miles on Instagram, inquiring if they had found a home yet. Beal’s place made sense — there were already kennels, because Beal owns several dogs, and there’s ample space for family and friends when they visit. Beal being a thoughtful teammate, even left behind furniture and didn’t disconnect the DirecTV.
This hospitality made Miles and his family feel at home.
“I told everybody,” Miles said, “if you ever want a landlord, call Bradley Beal.”