Washington Wizards: Takeaways from John Wall’s press conference

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images /

The Washington Wizards held a press conference to announce John Wall’s supermax extension, and Wall’s commitment to the team, to retire with the Wizards, and to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals stood out. 

Friday morning, the Washington Wizards held a press conference to discuss John Wall’s recently signed supermax extension, which is worth $170 million over four years. The extension, combined with the remaining two years on his contract, makes Wall’s contract total a whopping $205 million over six years.

This offseason, Wizards’ forward Otto Porter also received a max contract, $106.5 million over four years, making it the first time the Washington franchise has ever entered into the luxury tax.

As it currently stands, the Wizards now have three players under max contracts — Wall, Porter and Bradley Beal, who signed his extension last summer. And as I recently wrote, the band is back together.

The Wizards were only one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Thus, there was every reason to keep the core intact — especially Wall, who is the cornerstone of this franchise.

Wall was well deserving of the max, after having the best season of his career, averaging 23.1 points and 10.7 assists per game. In fact, he was second in the league in assists, behind James Harden. The four-time All-Star made an All-NBA team for the first time, which is what put him in contention for the supermax.

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There were those in Washington who worried that if Wall didn’t sign the extension that signified he was leaving. However, it didn’t matter whether he signed the extension or not, because Wall is still under contract for two more years, and wouldn’t have hit free agency until the end of the 2018-19 season.

On the other hand, if Wall had waited to sign next summer, he would have been eligible for an additional $50 million. But there’s no guarantee that he would have made an All-NBA team again next season, although he very well could. Plus, a lot of things could happen between now and then. So as they say in Goodfellas, “Why take that chance?”

His presser on Friday was just a reminder that the Wizards are committed to Wall for the long haul, and vice versa.

This is his city!

The press conference started off with Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld emphasizing how important it was to retain Wall, because he’s the type of teammate who makes everyone around him better.

Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis said that when he first met Wall, he told him that he was the type of leader that both the team and city needed. Leonsis added that he loves when Wall stands up during games and shouts, “This is my city!”

Wall began his remarks by thanking the Wizards organization for drafting him. The reason behind his commitment to return to D.C. for six more years is because he wants to “bring a championship to this city.”

He knew that a lot of people were panicking before he signed the extension, but he was just waiting for his agent and management team to get everything he wanted into the contract.

Wall was emphatic when he said that the Wizards are the team he plans on retiring with.

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  • Wall was asked, why choose the Wizards and not another team? Wall responded that D.C. is his second home and everyone shows him love whenever he walks around the city.

    Wall has unfinished business, and he reiterated that his goal next season is getting to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    At the start of the offseason, Leonsis stated, that there would be no drama surrounding Wall and Porter’s contract signings. He also said that he’s proud of his players, because they want to play for Washington, compared to what’s going on around the rest of league.

    Wall said that right now he’s working on his floater, three-point shooting and conditioning. Conditioning is very important because he wants to be in better shape next season and doesn’t want to run out of gas, as he did in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics.

    Head coach Scott Brooks, who completed his first season with the Wizards, said he believes that Wall will work on what he needs to improve, and is impressed with his offseason workouts.

    Brooks also noted that Wall doesn’t shy away from Game 7. Specifically, he brought up how Wall mentioned during the press conference that he missed his last 11 shots of the game against Boston, while other players wouldn’t have brought that up.

    That’s one leadership quality about Wall — he is quick to admit his shortcomings, and what he plans on doing to improve his overall game.

    There’s no need to relive Game 7, but Boston’s bench outscored the Wizards’ 43-5. — and that’s not because the second unit played poorly, but rather, because they didn’t get the chance to play.

    With the exception of a few minutes for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and former Wizard Bojan Bodgnaovic, who scored all of those five points, Brooks didn’t play his bench. Thus, Wall didn’t get any rest throughout the game, and his legs were gone by the time the third quarter rolled around.

    Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much conditioning Wall gets, but rather the amount of rest Wall receives throughout the season, that will determine whether he is able to close out a game.

    I know Wall has constantly said that he doesn’t believe in resting out games, because that may be the only time a child gets to see him play. That is very admirable on his part, but until the bench can be counted on, he best start believing.

    Next: The biggest winners and losers of 2017 NBA free agency

    In his press conference, Wall was adamant in the goals that he has for his team – making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, winning a championship and seeing his jersey lifted high up into the rafters one day. Because why not? It’s his city, after all.