NBA: Bradley Beal stunned by John Wall trade, ready to mesh with Westbrook

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Dec 05 2020 11:40 PM

Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal stand on the court during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Knicks, in October 2018. Nick Wass, AP/file

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal spent the first eight seasons of his career as a teammate of John Wall and that made it hard for him to digest Wednesday's trade of Wall to the Houston Rockets for fellow point guard Russell Westbrook.

The two-time All-Star shooting guard knows all he can do is move forward as he strives to "mesh well" with Westbrook, a former NBA MVP.

"It was definitely kind of shocking and crazy to see the news the other day," Beal told reporters on Friday.

"You understand it's the business of basketball. ... It was a tough pill for me to swallow too but on the flip side you look at it and see who we are bringing in and the caliber of player in Russ and what he is able to do, former MVP, walking triple-double. He is going to bring a spark to our team and an energy to our city."

Westbrook, 32, averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 57 games with the Rockets last season.

The nine-time All-Star was NBA MVP for the 2016-17 season when he posted a record 42 triple-doubles. Westbrook averaged a league-leading 31.6 points that season to go with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game.

The trade also reunites Westbrook with Washington coach Scott Brooks, who was the Oklahoma City Thunder coach for all but 13 games of Westbrook's first seven seasons with that franchise.

Beal routinely clicked with Wall, a five-time All-Star, so naturally there are questions on how well he and Westbrook can share the ball now that there is a new floor leader on the team.

Beal, 27, averaged a career-best 30.5 points in 57 games last season and has averaged more than 22 per game in each of the past four campaigns.

Beal said he doesn't foresee any shares when it comes to playing with Westbrook.

"I think there is a lot of false narratives that people have on him," Beal said. "So I won't put any stock into those things until I get some time with Russ on the floor. I don't think it will be anything where he comes in and he's like trying to run the show and just do everything by himself. He realizes it's a group effort. I don't think it will be any issue."

The tougher thing for Beal was saying to goodbye to Wall, who last played in a game in December 2018 due to injuries.

"I'm trying not to get emotional now," Beal said. "It's tough because he's a brother. You realize that relationship was so strong but it was so crazy because a lot of people tried to break us apart, a lot of people tried to put us apart, put us against each other and it was always crazy because when we came together and had those conversations, it was the total opposite of what everybody was making and the rumors and the noise."

Wall, 30, has career averages of 19 points, 9.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 573 contests (561 starts).

Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, is Washington's all-time leader in steals (976) and assists (5,282) and ranks fourth in points (10,879).

Westbrook has career averages of 23.2 points, 8.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds in 878 games (861 starts). He has 146 career triple-doubles, which ranks second all-time behind Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson's 181.

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