With the NBA rumor mill spouting in all directions this time of year, distinguishing between fact and fiction can often be a difficult task. The buzz last week was that Wizards All-Star John Wall, who hasn’t seen the court in nearly two years due to injury, was looking for a one-way ticket out of Washington. However, GM Tommy Sheppard decided to set the record straight Monday, insisting the former Kentucky Wildcat has made no such request.
Wall, who has been a Wizard since the day he was drafted first overall in 2010, was said to be involved in trade talks for disgruntled Rockets star Russell Westbrook, fueling further speculation the 30-year-old could be on the move this offseason. But if you ask Sheppard, who says he communicates with Wall about every other day, there’s no truth to those rumblings.
Despite an impressive track record—he’s the franchise’s all-time leader in both steals and assists and also ranks fourth in points behind Elvin Hayes, Bradley Beal and Jeff Malone—Wall would be difficult to trade given his enormous contract (two years, $91.7 million remain on his current deal). Wall’s continued durability concerns also make him a tough sell.
Regardless, at least for now, it doesn’t look like Wall is going anywhere. Assuming that remains the case, the veteran will return to his usual starting role alongside longtime backcourt-mate Bradley Beal, who averaged over 30 points per game in Wall’s absence last year. Sheppard previously stated Wall won’t play in the second night of back-to-backs this upcoming season, a preventative measure the Wizards hope will preserve his long-term health coming off a string of injuries. The five-time All-Star is 22 months removed from a torn Achilles.