John Wall has an interview with David Aldridge from NBA.com, where Wall discusses his struggles in his first two seasons and how he worked to improve. Aldridge then weighs in on what kind of extension Wall deserves this summer.
So … is he a max player?
Rose was league MVP by his third season. Westbrook was an All-Star and made second-team All-NBA by his third season. Paul was Rookie of the Year in 2006. Williams’ Jazz team was in the Western Conference finals his second season, the same year he was second in the league in assists. Wall has done none of those things yet.
But the Wizards made Wall the face of their franchise. They’ve sold season tickets on the assumption that Wall will be a major part of their rebuilding effort, and lead them back to the playoffs. And Wall, together with Beal, have shown Washington there may be hope in the future.
Taking all that, plus inflation and a likely bigger salary cap next season into account, making Wall the team’s designated player seems obvious. And giving him a five-year, $68.75 million extension, averaging just under $14 million per year and kicking in starting with the 2014-15 season, sounds like something both sides should be able to live with.”
There is a lot of other good stuff in the interview. Read the whole thing here.
Aldridge is right that the point guards who have received max contracts in the past have a better track record then Wall. And even Wall notes earlier in the interview that there are at least 8 point guards better than him. But the Wizards have bet a lot on Wall, making him the face of the franchise and rolling out the red carpet for him. This gives Wall far more leverage then Stephen Curry or Ty Lawson when negotiating his next contract, even if they are better players.
This matters because Wall, in other interviews, has made it clear that he wants a max contract. And I suspect that for most players, the status of a max contract matters more than the money itself. It elevates them to a category occupied by some of the most elite players in the NBA and goes a long way to establish trust between the player and the franchise. This, combined with Wall’s leverage, makes it very likely Wall is getting a max contract this summer. Even though, as Aldridge notes, he might not deserve it yet.