If it were up to the Wizards, John Wall would play professional basketball in the nation's capitol for life -- or for a very long time at least. Unfortunately for the Wizards though, it's not up to them. Whether it’s to play in front of friends and family, avoid state taxes, or dramatically ruin your relationship with the greatest teammate you've ever ever had and forever tarnish your legacy in the city that raised you to join the greatest regular season team of all-time -- superstars do leave.
To keep the league's top players from abandoning their franchises for better pastures, no matter how green or Golden they might be, the NBA has implemented what's called the Designated Veteran Player Exception (DVPE). It’s an exception that allows a player to sign an extension worth 35 percent of the league’s salary cap - a rate typically reserved for 10-year veterans - if they are named MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or make one of the All-NBA teams.
What this means for the Wizards is that should John Wall, who will be entering his eighth season this summer, earn a spot on any of the three All-NBA teams this year, he will be eligible for a massive, super-duper, heretofore-only-offered-to-Russell-Westbrook-and-James-Harden, sized extension from the Wizards.
This is important because should Wall take his talents elsewhere, it would multiply the amount of money he would be leaving on the table to "wow, you really must hate it here, huh?" levels.
Some figures: Ignoring the DVPE, say John Wall were to bounce at the end of his contract, before the start of the 2019-20 season. The most any team could offer him is a 4-year deal at 30 percent of the salary cap -- totaling $123.6 million at the projected $103 million cap. The Wizards, on the other hand, would be able to offer him a 5-year deal at the same rate -- totaling $153.5 million. In this situation, John would have $30 million reasons to stay in the DMV.
Now, say John Wall were to make an All-NBA team this year, the Wizards would then be able to offer him a 5-year deal a 35 percent of the salary cap -- totaling $180 million. Meaning that if John were to leave, he'd be leaving almost $57 million on the table. That's some major coin.
An All-NBA selection all but ensures that John Wall stays in red, white, and blue well for the majority of his career. Could the Wizards make it happen this year? Les take a look at his All-NBA competition:
First Team All-NBA Guards
Russell Westbrook, Thunder
James Harden, Rockets
Second Team All-NBA Guards
Stephen Curry, Warriors
Chris Paul, Clippers
Some might argue CP3's injuries keep him from consideration, but by the end of the season he'll have played about as many games as First Team-lock Kevin Durant. Steph Curry is still really good at basketball.
Third Team All-NBA Guards
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics
John Wall, Wizards
This is where things get interesting. In my humble and totally objective opinion, Wall and Isiah Thomas are the clear cut choices for the final two spots, but the national media isn't wholly impartial like yours truly. Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler and perhaps even Bradley Beal all stand to earn Third Team All-NBA votes this year, impacting Wall's chances at getting the nod.
Though Wall has had a great season, Irving certainly has a larger, more national profile, and DeRozan has returned to early season form as of late, and could earn him votes from those who might feel obligated to have at least one shooting guard make an All-NBA team.
Jimmy Butler's a small forward on a bad team, but some voters might list him as a guard in order to fit more forwards on their ballots. And while Beal has little-to-no shot at making a team this year (despite how excellent he's been all season long), any vote that goes to Beal could hurt Wall’s chances.
Further complicating things is that all of the guards mentioned above will likely be in the All-NBA conversation next year as well, with the possible additions of guys like Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, and Kemba Walker -- making Wall's odds of making an All-NBA team next season all the more difficult. Should he not make an All-NBA team this summer, the Wizards might lose their best opportunity at retaining him long-term.