After years of heartache and heartbreak, flirting with All-Stars and borderline superstars only to see the relationships go sour, D.C. hoops fans have finally reeled in a viable stud they can build a future with and call their own.
Fresh off the first All-NBA team selection of his career, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall announced (via UNINTERRUPTED) that he would be “coming back for another four years” and plans to sign the Designated Player Extension he was offered on June 30.
According to Washington Post writer Candace Buckner, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis remained confident (despite many reservations from people outside of D.C.) that his guy would sign an extension:
Ted Leonsis said he expects John Wall to sign his Designated Player Extension.
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) July 19, 2017
Leonsis has proven his willingness to keep a young core in tact as he gave fellow backcourt mate Bradley Beal a $128-million max contract before the start of last season. He shelled out another $107M to match the max contract offer sheet forward Otto Porter received this summer during free agency.
Between the three young stars (Wall (26), Beal, (24) and Porter (24)) the team is committed to dipping into the luxury tax, a fee Leonsis doesn’t mind paying after watching his group fall one win shy of the team’s first Eastern Conference Finals trip since 1979.
“They now have to set their expectations higher,” Leonsis said of his fat-pocketed, big three during the press conference for Porter’s contract signing on Wednesday. “We want to build a team that can go further into the playoffs than we did last year.”
Though the Wizards are clearly strapped for cash the next few seasons, it’s not necessarily a bad financial move to invest in a young future.
The Golden State Warriors are the blueprint for success in the modern NBA and outside of the huge free agent swipe of Kevin Durant last summer, they’ve spent their money on drafted and developed players (Curry, Green, Thompson). Now, owner Joe Lacob boasts one of the most inviting basketball cultures in the world and two championship banners in three years.
Granted, this isn’t a mirror comparison, and Wizards fans shouldn’t start making “2018 ECF Champs” T-shirts just yet (especially with that 6-foot-8 dude, sporting a fresh haircut, still lurking from Cleveland).
But now, at least Leonsis can exhale a bit knowing his best players are all under contract for the next three seasons. That’s plenty of time to increase team chemistry and establish a consistent winning culture with the help of new coach Scott Brooks.
The East is continually being drained of talent and contending teams. Couple that with the fact that multiple reports say Cavs All-Star guard Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland, and you get a less-cluttered pathway to the Finals.
As TNT first reported, Wall’s DPE extension is $170M over four years with the fourth year being a player option. The four-time All-Star guard will be one of the highest paid players in the NBA and will receive $207M by the time it’s all said and done.
Now that Wall sees the non-frugal mentality of an owner who believes in his stars’ potential, he’s making viral videos and it’s all smiles.
It’s time for basketball fans in the Nation’s Capital to put the failed relationships of old in the rearview so they can enjoy the present and future Wall and company will provide.