Ever since the 2010 NBA Draft, the Wizards have been for the most part, blessed by the presence of a Johnathan Hildred Wall Jr. on their team. Not only for the 16 points and 8 assists he brings to the court on a nightly basis, but also for the cost of said production. Even though Wall was the top pick in the draft, he makes a rather small salary of $5,915,880 for this season, thanks to his rookie contract.
However, the days of John Wall’s low price tag are numbered. After next season, Wall will be due for a new contract. The good news for Washington is that he will only be a restricted free agent. So unless he decides to sign his qualifying offer which will give him an extra year at his current pay rate, then allow him to be an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team he so chooses, John Wall should remain a Wizard as long as the team matches any offer Wall is given.
As for how large those offers are, well, our favorite franchise point guard (and recent Eastern Conference Player of the Week) is going big. In an interview with Zach Lowe for Grantland, Wall stated his goals for his second contract;
Lowe: Do you feel like you deserve a max contract? That you’re a max guy?
Wall: I feel like I am. I do, definitely.
Now, John has certainly shown flashes of how truly great he can be, but potential can only take you so far in free agency. The NBA today has a massive bumper crop of young , talented PGs. With such names like Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, Denver’s Ty Lawson, Russell Westbrook of the Thunder,the rookie sensation Damian Lillard (who many forget is actually older than Wall by almost 2 months), and Stephen Curry shooting the lights out in Oakland, Wall gets lost in the tide of the rapidly changing PG sea sometimes.
To remind ourselves of the league’s other youthful playmakers, let’s look at some of the contracts other young point guards got this past off-season:
Stephen Curry: Four years, $40 million
Ty Lawson: Four years, $48 million
Jeremy Lin: Three years, $25 million
Kyle Lowry: Four years, $23 million
Jrue Holiday: Four years, $41 million
Now, by the end of the decade, I would hope to see John blow past all of these guys. Yet as of right now, he isn’t quite at their level in terms of consistent on-the-court play. If none of these five PGs — three of whom will be playing in the postseason, and one who has been selected to the All-Star game — have been given the maximum contract of five years and a fourth of their teams salary cap, it is certain that John Wall’s quality of play will not reach the level needed to gain the maximum deal allotted come next summer.
Yet, as Wizards fans, we should be happy that Wall believes he is a max guy. It’s the power of positive thinking. If Wall believes that he should be paid like a franchise guy, maybe he’ll practice like a franchise guy. Fix his flaws like a franchise guy. Hold himself accountable like a franchise guy. Time’s running out for John. He can no longer rest on the laurels as the #1 pick when other players in his draft class and later classes have exceeded his current body of work.
The NBA is ready for John Wall, Superstar. Is John?