The Washington Wizards have reportedly dealt with the internal strife between John Wall and Marcin Gortat that briefly disrupted their locker room a week ago. At least for now. DC is the national hub of diplomacy and the Wizards embraced their own conflict resolution skills to settle the silliest intrasquad beef of the season. According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Wall and Gortat have reached a detente in their hostile war of words after meeting privately.
It was the first time the two spoke in person regarding Gortat’s tweet many interpreted as a passive-aggressive slight directed at the All-Star guard, league sources told ESPN.
Both Wizards players requested the sitdown, sources say.
Wall, who underwent a knee procedure at the end of January has struggled to live up to his lofty standards this season. The team’s “Everybody Eats” motto, their league-high assist rate since he was sidelined, their five-game winning streak and his six to eight week rehab heightened his sensitivities. They were escalated another degree when the injured Wall took offense to a tweet from Gortat, which he interpreted as a dig.
Unbelievable win tonight ! Great “team” victory!
— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) February 2, 2018
Privately, Wall informed his $12.7 million center via text to approach him personally if there was a problem instead of subtweeting him through social media. Unfortunately, Wall is also a walking reservoir of grievances and he ignored his own good advice by airing them out on “SportsCenter” when host Michael Smith inquired about Gortat’s tweet.
“I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game — I’m very prideful, and finding my teammates and getting these guys easy shots.” Wall told Smith. It was more just shocking to hear from him, and understanding that he gets the most assists from me, and the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”
An eye for eye makes both men blind and the Wizards team doctors have enough on their hands. After coming together, the pair realized their acrimony wastriggered by text message confusion. However, Haynes also reports they’re not completely out of the woods yet.
The meeting, which didn’t last long, facilitated the airing of grievances, but sources say there is still more work to be done to fully repair that relationship.
Gortat, 33, is on the decline and his expiring contract is an asset the Wizards may use to barter with. If their relationship is as fractured as it appears, it’s obvious which player the Wizards will choose unless Wall continues burning bridges in his quest for universal respect. However, post-trade deadline, the Wizards are stuck with one another until they run out of games to play.
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