Given everything that’s transpired over the past year or so, you could understand why Wizards fans might be at least mildly concerned John Wall would explore going elsewhere when he hits free agency in 2019. Thankfully, despite all the fear and trembling, Wall has never said anything publicly that would suggest he’s considering such a move.
Last week, in an interview with Michael Lee of The Vertical, Wall used Beal’s new contract as evidence he’s still committed to Washington:
“This is my brother at the end of the day,” Beal told The Vertical. “Nothing is going to change. If I didn’t want to be here, if we did beef, I wouldn’t have signed my contract. That’s what it ultimately comes down to.”
“And I wouldn’t have begged him to come back,” Wall interjected. “I would’ve been, ‘Don’t come back because in two years, I ain’t coming back.’ We would’ve figured something out.”
In a newly released one-on-one interview with Andrew Sharp of The Crossover, Wall went a step further, affirming his commitment to the team and explaining why he wants to stay in town:
You know, it's a new era in the NBA right now, but I'm a loyal guy. If people stick behind me like the city's been doing for the first six years, going on seven... You never know what can happen, but I love being here. I enjoy playing here. My dad was from here. And it's a short drive to North Carolina if I ever want to see my family, or they want to come see me. Like I said, my ultimate goal is to hang up another banner in this arena.
I love being here. I love the city. I do so much here, my Dad being from here, it's easy for family to come see. I'm an East Coast guy. I love the weather. Like people don't like cold, but that's how you feel the freshest. So yeah, I look at all those things. Being the assists leader, the steals leader. I want to set records here that people won't break for a long, long time. But none of that will mean anything if I don't hang a banner here.
While Wall is clearly focused on getting a title, it is worth noting he’s very close to becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in several categories. As of Wednesday morning, he only needs 21 assists to become the franchise’s all-time leader in assists, he’s 45 steals away from taking the franchise lead in steals, and if he scores 1,500 points this season (something he did last season) he’d move into 7th all-time on the franchise’s scoring list, ahead of Walt Bellamy and Gilbert Arenas, and right behind Phil Chenier.
Of course, there is plenty of time for something to happen between now and when Wall hits free agency. But from the sound of things, it seems like he feels there are still plenty of reasons to stay in Washington, and that’s a very encouraging sign for the future.