Posted July 31, 2013

Report: Wizards’ John Wall signs five-year, $80 million extension

John Wall, Washington Wizards
John Wall

John Wall was the first pick in the 2010 draft. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Wizards point guard John Wall has signed a five-year contract extension worth about $80 million, according to The Washington Post. The deal is for the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

Wall, the No. 1 pick in 2010, is the first member of his draft class to sign an extension. First-round picks entering their fourth years have until Oct. 31 to sign extensions; otherwise, they would become restricted free agents next summer. Wall’s new contract will kick in for the 2014-15 season. He’s under contract for $7.5 million next season.

Wall, 22, averaged a career-high 18.5 points, 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game last season. He ranked sixth among point guards in Player Efficiency Rating (20.9), behind Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry. He missed the first two months of the season with a knee injury. The Wizards went 24-25 with Wall in the lineup and 5-28 when he was out.

The Wizards have yet to make the playoffs in Wall’s three seasons, going 23-59, 20-46 and 29-53. Wall missed 13 games as a rookie and 33 last season. He appeared in all 66 games in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.

“I just need to be in the playoffs. That’s my only goal,” Wall said last week in Las Vegas, where he participated in a USA Basketball minicamp. “Fourth year going in, I need to have a full, healthy season and make the playoffs. That’s all I’m looking forward to.”

Wall said in Las Vegas that he belongs among the elite point guards.

“I feel like when I’m healthy, I’m right there with them,” he said. “I put myself in the category.”

In March, SI.com’s Rob Mahoney assessed the strengths and weaknesses of Wall’s game:

Wall, 22, is a terrific athlete. He possesses the balance and straight-line speed to perhaps become an elite penetrator. But lingering concern over his shooting ability makes it difficult to project his effectiveness. Elite perimeter shooting may not be a prerequisite of high-level point-guard play, but it certainly helps in executing a solid offense. By projecting a threat as a shooter, Wall would twist the defense and carve out lanes to the rim or to the open man, to say nothing of the more creative play design that would feature him as an off-ball cog rather than a ball-dominant instigator.

For now, Wall helps offset his shooting limitations with his terrific vision — a defining characteristic that separates him from other rangeless, drive-centric lead guards. Wall is already a better passer than off-the-dribble creators such as Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose were at similar stages of development, giving him an opportunity to grow into a more balanced skill set. In the meantime, those playmaking skills also allow him to boost the Wizards’ offense even as he rounds out his overall game, though relying on Wall exclusively in such a capacity oversimplifies Washington’s play actions and curbs its lineup flexibility.

Wall faces a far steeper learning curve on the defensive end, where he has the ability to stay in front of his man, the physical gifts to (theoretically) be a terrific help defender and a staggering lack of discipline that otherwise complicates his play. Straying from a defensive assignment can be completely manageable in the right circumstances, and in Wall’s case he is able to snag plenty of steals to help justify his decision-making. But teams and players need to be on the same page when it comes to freelancing in the passing lanes, and the Wizards’ defense has never quite given me the impression that Wall’s gambles are calculated risks. Perhaps those very plays are ones that Washington can come to live with as Wall improves the rest of his coverage, but for the moment they simply offer another reason to be uncertain about his defensive future.

The Post reported that the Wizards will hold a news conference on Thursday to announce Wall’s new contract.

10 comments
Bahia
Bahia

Brother getting paid ... He be feelin' good for the next couple of days celebrate

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

A max deal for an injury prone, little better than average guard whose team hasn't won more than 29 games since he was drafted! The NBA is insane.

EarnLikeAPro
EarnLikeAPro

Wouldn't we all like to be John Wall signing this deal at the age of 22.

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6marK6
6marK6

Smart move, I don't think the Wizards would have won half the championships or had nearly the success they have enjoyed in recent years without Wall.

Jon18
Jon18

Chris Paul led the hornets to a 20 game improvement his 1st year and a 38 game improvement by his 3rd. Wizards with wall got worse by 3 games his first year and had a pathetic 3 game improvement by his 3rd.

Jon18
Jon18

This is a terrible contract. The team would have a much better record if he was any good. Point guards are suppose to make those around him better.   

ShaunAhmad
ShaunAhmad

@Jon18 If you end up with a potential top 10 point guard or a top 5 center on your team through the draft, you keep him.  They are hard to come by.  You then build your team around that player by adding complimentary pieces.  Wall has the talent and has shown flashes of elite performance.  It's not a terrible contract.  What is the alternative?  Spend that 80 million on marginal guys?  Wall is young.  You probably didn't like Westbrook or Rondo in their first 3 years either.  

6marK6
6marK6

@mystafugee @6marK6 I guess my commentary is directed more at a media that celebrates marginal players receiving huge amounts of money as news stories. It is lazy journalism.