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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

The Washington Wizards State of the Union

What if I told you that all hell is breaking loose in Washington D.C. and that I’m not talking about our government. Folks, we’re talking Washington Wizards basketball.

This week for the Zards has been eventful, to say the least, starting off with John Wall tearing his Achilles from slipping and falling in his house. It’s an awfully similar predicament to when former Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall tore his achilles going for a slice of pizza. D.C. sports just cannot catch a break.

Then on Wednesday night Otto Porter was traded to the Bulls for SF/PF Jabari Parker, PR Bobby Portis, and a second-round pick. Later that night, the Wizards moved Markieff Morris to the New Orleans Pelicans, in exchange for forward Wesley Johnson.

Trading away Porter is a good move for the team. Porter was grossly overpaid when he was given a four-year 106-million dollar deal in the summer of 2016. With the money the team already owes Wall, getting Porter’s contract off the books was a necessity. But the irony is the one good move Ernie makes it correcting his own colossal mistake.

The Markieff Morris trade is much more of a head-scratcher. I’ve always respected the way Morris plays, as a scrappy three-point shooting big man. Morris has put together a solid year, averaging 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds, compared to Wesley Johnson’s 3.7 points and 2.1 rebound average. Wesley is the most washed up player in the league, and although it’s a move that makes sense salary-wise, it feels pointless given that we didn’t get any real value in return.

Are the Wizards officially tanking? According to Ted Leonsis, that won’t be happening.: “The Wizards will never tank.” Do you know what Leonsis also said just a week ago? That the Wizards have no plans to trade Bradley Beal, John Wall, or Otto Porter. Considering Leonsis directly contradicted his own words to the media, I’m very hesitant to trust a word that comes out of that guy’s mouth.

If the Wizards are in fact planning on rebuilding they’re doing a horrible job of it. Trading away a young up and coming player in Kelly Oubre Jr. was a terrible move from a terrible GM #FireErnie. If the Wizards are on the path to a rebuild, Oubre Jr. is a guy you want to have around so he can develop into a leader. But according to Ernie’s logic, re-signing Trevor Ariza to a long-term deal is what’s going to solve the team’s woes.

There are two scenarios that could come about from a rebuild that scare the crap out of me.

The first is Bradley Beal growing frustrated with a losing team and wanting out of Washington. This season for Beal has been nothing short of spectacular. He has developed into one of the best shooting guards in the league, making history with multiple 40-10-15 triple doubles. Beal has already expressed frustration with management, and if the team goes into a free-fall he could very well request a trade. Losing Beal would absolutely kill this franchise and leave us in ruin for years.

The second scenario that scares me is Ernie using it a tool to keep his job long term. Ernie has already been at the helm for 15 years. 15 freaking years and not an Eastern Conference Finals appearance to show for it. The thought of another five to ten years of Ernie destruction is a horrifying thought. He’s the NBA GM version of Dan Snyder. Absolutely horrific. The Washington Wizards franchise isn’t going anywhere past the second round of the playoffs if this tyrant stays in power #FireErnie.

The last outstanding order of business for the Wizards is John Wall’s contract. There’s not really much more to say than we’re screwed. The team owes Wall 171 million over the next four years. The last two injuries Wall has sustained will devastating to his style of play. Wall is player who relies on his explosion and hustling on both ends of the floor to assert dominance.

His heel injury already set him back for the rest of this year, and now to add an Achilles tear to his situation, unfortunately, puts his athleticism, and therefore his career, in doubt. The possibility of trading Wall went out the window when the news broke of his injury.

Our only hope as Wizards fans is to #Trusttheprocess and pray that John Wall can return to his old self- maybe sitting out all of the 2019-20 season would be beneficial.. If Derrick Rose can play the way he has after sustaining so many injuries, I think Wall has a chance to return to his brilliance.

Looking to the future, the outlook of the Wizards appears bleak. It truly feels that ever since the Zards lost the Celtics in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals things have gone downhill. The most painful part of that loss was Kelly “The Clinic” Olynyk was one of the main reasons they lost. I will never forget when John Wall hit the game-winner to send it game seven. That is without a doubt one of the most important moments in D.C. sports in the 21st century.

The best move the Wizards can make this summer is firing their tyrannical GM Ernie Grunfeld. It’s been 15 years, and with literally nothing to show, it’s time to move on for God’s sake. Save the franchise Ted. #FireErnie.

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-Jackson Parker

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