John Wall wants to see Wizards’ plan to compete before signing Designated Player extension
Last week, John Wall was named to the All-NBA third team. The honor situated Wall into an elite group making him eligible this summer for the new Designated Veteran Player Extension, commonly referenced as the “Super Max.”
With Wall having two years remaining on his existing five-year deal worth $85 million he signed in 2014, the four-time All-Star can sign a four-year extension that will pay him 35 percent of the salary cap, which equates to about $165 million in total. That would give him just over $41 million per season.
According to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic, signing Wall to his DVPE is the Washington Wizards’ top priority this summer ahead of signing restricted free agent Otto Porter to a multi-year deal.
However, sources have indicated that Wall is in no rush to sign that extension. Instead, the team’s leading scorer and the franchise’s all-time leader in assists will prefer to take a wait-and-see approach with the team. Wall wants to compete for the Eastern Conference championship. The team had a goal of making the Conference Finals spearheaded by its leader, Wall.
Unfortunately, they fell short of that goal losing in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the top-seeded Boston Celtics. With the Celtics positioned to get the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA Draft along with cap space to improve their already talented roster, and LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers showing no signs of slowing down, Wall wants assurance from the front office they have the same intentions of improving their roster to remain one of the giants of the conference.
Among their major concerns is the upgrading their woeful bench that under-performed during both the regular season and the playoffs. None of the general manager Ernie Grunfeld transactions during the 2016-17 season panned out. Andrew Nicholson was traded at the trade deadline for Bojan Bogdanovic, who was an el matador on defense. Meanwhile, Ian Mahinmi missed 51 games during the regular season thanks to a knee injury and eight games in the postseason with a calf injury.
Brandon Jennings shot just 27.4 percent from the field, including 21.2 percent from three during the regular season after the Wizards acquired him in March. He wasn’t much better in postseason either as his three point shooting dropped to 15.4 percent. Jennings was picked up because Trey Burke struggled mightily in the regular season to back up Wall. In turn the lack of a bench support led to Wall and Bradley Beal tiring out late in Game 7’s loss to Boston.
For Wall to momentarily turn his back on $41 million per season is alarming and noticeable to his desire to want to win. Per the new CBA only the Wizards could give him such a financial raise, as the rule was implemented to retain franchise players with the team that has his Bird Rights.
If the Wizards want to retain its franchise player for years to come, they will have to convince him they are moving in the right direction towards competing for a championship. Otherwise risk Wall entertaining the thought of moving on when he becomes a free agent following the 2018-19 season.