Antonio Daniels: Do the Wizards even like each other?

Chris Lingebach
May 07, 2018 - 6:25 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards have their "big three" set in stone, but they might be in need of a sledgehammer. Only, sledgehammers are in short supply.

Former Wizard Antonio Daniels, speaking to The Sports Junkies Monday, fears the chemistry between John Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat may be beyond repair.

"If you guys remember when I was on with you last year, one of the things that we asked ourselves, collectively, was, 'Do you pay Otto Porter?' he said. "That was one of the big issues, and, now, it's a difficult situation, because, for the Wizards, you're financially strapped, so you don't have much flexibility moving forward as far as the way your roster can be constructed, and you're an eight seed. That's one piece."

The Wizards face a prickly identity crisis. If this group has peaked, they're too financially committed to Wall, Beal and Otto Porter to do anything about it. Without major changes, they may keep ramming their heads into the same brick wall with no room for growth. Even worse, Daniels worries his view from the outside may be correct, that the team's stars don't even like each other. That's a disastrous recipe.

"And the other piece is you have to ask yourself, 'Does this team like each other?'" Daniels said. "I don't know. I'm on the outside looking in, but the question I have is do these guys really get along with one another? John Wall and Bradley Beal, do they really like each other? John Wall and Gortat, do they get along? Do these guys want what's best for each other? And if the answer is no, collectively, something has to change."

"I don't know what that change may be," he said. "But you can't be one: financially strapped, where you have no roster flexibility as far as finances are concerned; and two, you have a lot of guys around each other that don't get along and bring the best out of each other. That means something has to change."

"I'm not saying I know what the solution is," he added. "I think it's gonna be hard to rid yourself of Bradley Beal's deal. I think it's gonna be difficult to rid yourself of John Wall's deal, unless you're going to move him somewhere where another star is needed, somewhere like New York. But then you have to have the assets to get back in return, which a lot of teams don't have."

In summation, the current plan isn't working, but there's no way to formulate a new plan.

"But the thing is, if you're a team like the Washington Wizards, and you put all your eggs in this basket of these three guys, and yet, you're a number eight seed," Daniels went on. "So that means you are financially strapped and yet you're still average or mediocre, and to add to that, these guys really don't seem like they get along."

"And again, I'm on the outside looking in. These guys do not seem like they get along," he said. "And it happens sometimes. It does happen sometimes. I'm not going to say that everybody on every team likes each other and so on and so forth. I'm not that silly. But when your two star players seem like they're butting heads like this, or even three of the five of your starters -- 60 percent of your starting lineup -- doesn't really get along, that's an issue moving forward that has to be addressed, somehow."

On the bright side, their arsonist fireman of a general manager, who's proven repeatedly successful at building teams incapable of getting beyond the second round, just got another secret contract extension.

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