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Wizards in full damage control after confrontational practice leaks out

November 21, 2018

The Washington Wizards did their best Tuesday to downplay the drama of last weeks explosive practice the one that resulted in star guard John Wall being fined for telling coach Scott Brooks [expletive] you and guard Bradley Beal taking a shot at management.

Wall, Beal and Brooks all reiterated that verbal confrontations happen regularly in the NBA. Brooks described the incident as spirited, while all three said the team had moved on.

At the teams morning shootaround at Capital One Arena, though, Beal seemed to choose his words carefully after he was asked about the Washington Wizards culture, considered toxic by many of the teams critics around the league.

Beal hesitated a moment and said the Wizards are what we created it to be.

He tore the team apart and created a new team, starting with John as the foundation and created it into what we are now, Beal said of general manager Ernie Grunfeld, though Beal didnt mention the Wizards oft-criticized executive by name. Were a team thats a playoff team. You know but weve struggled. Weve had our fair share of struggles. I wouldnt say were a team thats not in unison.

I wouldnt say that were a team that hates each other. I say it every game, were in the locker room and theres positive energy. Its not like I hate the next man and the next man hates that man. Its none of that. Its just figuring it out on the floor. We just cant seem to put it together right now.

During the practice, Beal reportedly told Grunfeld he was sick of this and added hes been dealing it for seven years.

The Wizards drafted Beal with the third overall pick in 2012 to be a foundational piece alongside Wall, though a report emerged Monday that the Wizards are finally willing to listen to trade offers for the two stars. Wall and Beal have had success reaching the playoffs four times but are off a 5-11 start in whats been a hectic season.

Addressing the trade rumors, Wall said he wants to stay with the Wizards.

I love being a Wizard, Wall said. Ive been here for nine years. Its where I want to finish my career.

Wall dismissed the idea that the heated practice led to the teams two straight losses. Similarly, he didnt know why the outburst happened while the Wizards were riding a three-game winning streak.

Brooks said Wall apologized after the incident and the coach also took some of the blame. Brooks addressed the media after Washingtons shootaround, something he typically doesnt do on game days.

Not minimizing it but as a team, you got to accept what was said and ... Im not proud of what I said, Brooks said. And John and our players are the same way. Theyre not proud of that moment but we move on. You move on as a family.

Brooks also acknowledged the obvious: The Wizards are frustrated.

We havent had the season that we wouldve liked to have a better start, he said. I havent done my job as well as I know I need to do. As a team, we havent played as well as we would like to do. ... Our players are gonna continue to work through it and try to make this a season that we will be proud to remember.

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