Washington Wizards: John Wall’s Drama-Free Contract on a Drama-Filled Day in the NBA

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 25: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards drives past Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 25, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 25: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards drives past Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 25, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Washington Wizards’ John Wall signed his supermax extension on Friday, the same day the NBA was in chaos from the news of Kyrie Irving’s trade request to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ front office. The Wizards’ front office meanwhile, showed it has its act together as it builds a strong DC Family that we hope can stay true to its goals of making the conference finals, and ultimately winning an NBA Championship.

When the Washington Wizards’ John Wall had the honor of making the All-NBA Third Team this past season, the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement kicked in, making Wall eligible for a “supermax” contract extension.

Although Wall’s season stats clearly showed that he should have made 1st-Team, he will simply add this slight to his wall of motivation.

First Team, second team, it doesn’t matter. Wall was now eligible to sign a Designated Player Veteran Extension, otherwise known as the “supermax.”

When the announcement was made, I believed at the time that Wall should “wait” until after next season, to sign the extension. While some feared, that if he didn’t sign, that he was going to leave Washington.

Whether Wall signed the extension or not, he is still under contract with the Wizards for the next two seasons. The extension itself doesn’t begin until 2019-2020.

Wall’s Drama-Free Extension

Fan fears were assuaged this past Friday, and they collectively breathed a sigh of relief, after Wall announced that he had signed his $170 million extension. Coupled with the remaining 2 years on his contract, his contract is now worth $207 million.

The reason I believed that he should wait, and sign at the end of next season, was because he would then have been eligible for an additional $50 million. But as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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But, there’s no guarantee that Wall will make an All-NBA team again next season. And although, he should, there are a lot of variables that could occur in the interim. So, as they say in Goodfellas, ‘why take that chance?’

Ok, so he signed his extension, and we know what it contains money-wise, but I was also hoping it contained a clause – the player option. Now, don’t get excited again. The player option allows Wall to opt out after the third-year of his extension contract, whereby he would be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

Based on salary projections, if Wall chooses not to opt out, the final year on his extension would be worth approximately $47 million. The reason why the player option is a good option, is that it provides both Wall and the Wizards flexibility.

Earlier in the week, during a press conference announcing Otto Porter’s max contract, Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis stated, that there was no drama in re-signing Porter, and neither would there be any drama with Wall’s extension. That was admittedly true.

Wizards’ Front Office Has its Act Together

But in an offseason filled with drama, another Nike shoe dropped, when word got out on Friday, that Kyrie Irving wanted to be traded from the Cavaliers, because he no longer wanted to play alongside LeBron James.

Coincidentally, after that bombshell, Wall did a no-look pass, and made the announcement that he signed his extension.

John Wall you aint slick. But timing is everything.

Of course, since Wall and James share the same agent, he received a congratulatory tweet from James, calling him his “lil bro”, an endearing term once used for Irving.

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ESPN later reported, that one of the reasons for the fracture in Irving’s relationship with James, is because Irving wants to be the leader of a team, and was tired of living in James’ shadow.

"“Irving chafed about how peers such as Damian Lillard and John Wall were the center of their franchises and catered to accordingly. There’s irony there, as Wall was envious of Irving’s Nike shoe deal and Lillard has never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs.”"

I agree with the first part, that Irving may have felt a bit of envy, that he wasn’t his team’s leader like Wall, considering he is the point guard on the Cavaliers. But, Wall never needed another superstar to take the Wizards to the playoffs.

Irving, on the other hand, before the King’s return, was the leader, and under his tenure, Cleveland was always lottery bound.

Now to the second part of that assertion, that Wall was ‘envious of Irving’s Nike deal’. I’d like to believe, and hopefully I’m not wrong, that I have my ears to the ground on what’s going on with the Washington Wizards.

I definitely know the team on the court, and off the court I’m pretty familiar with what deals they have, and how they feel about their marketability. (But if you ask me who they’re married to or what ice cream they like, I have no idea about their personal life).

Therefore, I’m going to call a flagrant foul on this one. Wall isn’t envious of Irving’s Nike deal, and that’s the first time we are hearing of this.

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And for the record, Wall was second in the league in assists this past season. Let me scroll down to see if I could find where Irving is. Ok there he is, tied with Draymond Green at number 9.

Now that I have properly schooled my brothers back in Massachusetts on the Wizards, one brother remarked after the Irving news, “wouldn’t it be awesome if Wall paired up with James in Cleveland, they would dominate the league!” After I picked up the phone I just dropped, I said, “never let those words be spoken again”.

To say that there’s drama in a championship team, like Cleveland, would be an understatement. But here at home, Leonsis kept his ship together. Leonsis put his money where his mouth is, and firmly backed the Wizards.

And with Wall at the mast, Wizards fans are very excited to see where he takes us next season.

The DC Family that Stays Together, Plays Together for the ECF

And while the ship may have tilted a bit, let’s not create drama where none exists. Some have asked me, “what about Wall publicly commenting about Porter leaving, so they would have cap space to sign Paul George?”

To those I say this – the narrative next season will not be about the relationship between Wall and Porter, because the two will privately talk and hug it out. There is no issue there.

Wall said his goal is to bring a championship to the city. And I believe that he will keep that promise, just as Leonsis kept his promise to keep the core together.

The Wizards are coming together very nicely. With the continuity of Washington’s core, and everyone knowing their role, the Wizards have built a very strong foundation to move to the next level.

Next: Wizards 2017 Season Review: John Wall

Washington has a very good chance of being in the Eastern Conference Finals next season. And although I’m not a betting man, (nor a man), I’m putting it all on red.