Building a so-called “super team” may have gained credence after the Golden State Warriors’ signing of superstar Kevin Durant immediately resulted in a championship, but the Washington Wizards are bucking the trend.
The Wizards, having locked up its main core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. for at least the next four years, are rolling the dice on standing pat for the sake of continuity.
“I love being here, I love the bond that we have,” Beal, 24, said Monday during media day at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C. “I’ve been with the team for six-plus years. That’s amazing to me. That’s a lifetime of memories … and building a bond with your teammates.”
The Wizards agreed to a max-level deal with Beal last year and another in July with Porter. Wall signed a four-year, $170 million contract extension last month.
“Once you sign a deal, all that pressure’s gone,” Wall said. “Once you sign a deal, all you have to go out there and play and let everybody know you earned your money for a reason.”
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and General Manager Ernie Grunfeld have both said continuity remains the strongest asset with the team.
The Wizards began training camp Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia, without one of their starters, Markieff Morris. The team announced Friday he underwent sports hernia surgery and could miss six to eight weeks.
Prior to his surgery, Morris had to appear in court Sept. 18 with his identical twin brother, Marcus, of the Boston Celtics, in Arizona after they were accused of aggravated assault stemming from a 2015 altercation with former acquaintance Erik Hood of Philadelphia, where the twins grew up.
If convicted, both Morris twins could face a 10-game suspension from the NBA based on the most recent collective bargaining agreement.
In his absence, head coach Scott Brooks must decide who to fill Markieff Morris’s spot in the starting lineup when the season begins Oct. 18 at home against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Brooks can decide to use backup center Jason Smith, who said he’s worked on three-point shooting this summer, or newcomer and three-point marksman Mike Scott, acquired this summer from the Atlanta Hawks.
Brooks even discussed the possibility of using Porter as the “stretch four,” a label used to describe power forwards with extended shooting range.
“It’s not the ideal situation to have one of your starting players out for an extended period of time due to surgery, but that’s part of the game,” he said. “You have to have that ‘next man up’ mentality, which we have.”