John Wall recently said he and Bradley Beal “have a tendency to dislike each other,” which is a strange thing to publicly admit. The Wizards’ chemistry issues are apparent, and it’s not like Wall said they actually hate each other, but an inclination to get agitated is not out of his character. Wall is known to keep a close eye on what other players are making, and the paper tossed around this summer has reportedly irked him. One league source familiar with Wall’s state of mind simply put it this way: “Wall’s got jealousy issues. He’s always upset with someone who makes more money than him.” A lot of players will make more money than Wall this year. He signed a five-year, $84.8 million deal in 2013, which looks like chump change now.
A front-office executive tells The Ringer that Wall was “rankled” after Harden signed a four-year, $118 million extension with the Rockets. If Harden’s contract was irritating, just imagine how Wall felt when Beal signed for a five-year max contract worth $127.2 million, tied for the fourth-most-valuable contract in the NBA. An agent described it to me like this: “Whatever is public, multiply it by five and that’s how they really feel about each other. It’s probably a total disaster.”
Wall and Beal have never clicked for the same reason the jocks and the geeks don’t sit at the same lunch table in high school. They’re fundamentally different, I’m told. Wall likes to party, but Beal doesn’t get out much. Beal spends tons of hours in the gym, but Wall doesn’t, and is still a significantly better player, a three-time All-Star. Beal is a complementary player, a zero-time All-Star, and will be getting paid $17.1 million more over the next three seasons.
August 24th Updates
The high temperatures outside the arena at Las Vegas summer league, where John Wall sat courtside to watch the Wizards play, were punishing. Bradley Beal walked in with his girlfriend, fresh off agreeing to $128 million max contract, and when he sat down there was a gulf of unfilled chairs between the two. The two self-described “cornerstones” of the Wizards couldn’t have been farther away from each other. It’s no secret that the Wizards’ future — and two best and highest-paid players — have work to do with builidng their relationship. It’s Wall’s seventh season and Beal’s fifth.
Since the backcourt has played together for four years, there’s a tendency to asume that they’re best friends. But they don’t spend much time together outside of Verizon Center and they have had to be separated on more than one occassion after blowups. Last season, Alan Anderson made peace after preseason game when Beal was upset. Two seasons ago it was Garrett Temple, Beal’s best friend on the team who now is with the Sacramento Kings, to restrain him. Both veterans are gone after free agency this summer.
“I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. … We got to be able to put that to the side. If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right … as long as you come to each other and talk. If I starting arguing with somebody I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball,” Wall said in a sitdown interview with CSN’s Chris Miller that airs tonight, Wizards Central: Offseason Grind, at 7:30 p.m. ET. “Now that you have your money you got to go out there and improve your game. I want you to be an All-Star just as much as I’m an All-Star. If we were playing well as a tandem like the other two superstars that play together as a backcourt, play as a tandem, one night it’s going to be his night, one night it’s going to be mine, some nights it might be both of us. Those are nights it’s going to be tough to beat us.”
“It’s tough because we’re both alphas. It’s always tough when you have two guys who firmly believe in themselves, who will bet on themselves against anybody else, who want to be that guy. We both can be that guy,” Beal said. “Sometimes I think we both lose sight of the fact that we need each other. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in without John. John wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in without me, without the rest of the team. It goes hand-in-hand so it’s kind of a pride thing. We got to (hash) out our pride, fiigure out what our goals are individually, help each other achieve those goals, figure out what our team goal is, where do we see ourselves five years from now, 10 years from now and go from there.”