The Wizards officially put one “Will he or won’t he?” debate to bed on Wednesday during their press conference to acknowledge Otto Porter’s max contract. But during the press conference, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was asked about the other big question this summer: Will John Wall accept or decline the team’s four-year supermax extension, or won’t he?
Here’s what Leonsis had to say:
Ted Leonsis' full quote on DPE: "My prediction is John Wall will sign his extension. He wants to be here & my goal is to have no drama."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) July 19, 2017
Ernie Grunfeld also shared his thoughts on where things stand with Wall extension talks, as noted by Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
"We're moving forward. We're still talking about that. There's no urgency to it. Obviously, we would like to have John finish his career here.”
It seems clear from those comments Washington feels good about where things stand. It’s pretty bold to step out and predict Wall will sign unless you have good inclination on what he will decide. According to Michael Lee of The Vertical, the team seems to think it’s a decision between taking the guaranteed money now, or gambling that he can make more by waiting until next summer:
Wizards feel it's a matter of John Wall gambling on $170M right now or another $50M next summer https://t.co/yveMzdbKzr— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 19, 2017
From Washington’s perspective, it would be much more advantageous for Wall to sign an extension this summer rather than wait until next summer. Even once you take the money part off the table, getting Wall signed this summer clarifies the team’s future and allows them to plan accordingly for the rest of the his prime. If he doesn’t sign, there’s always going to be that cloud of doubt until he signs a new deal, especially if he misses out on All-NBA for whatever reason next season and the team can’t offer an extension before he hits free agency.
As we’ve noted and Ball Don’t Lie has noted, the decision is not as clear cut for John Wall. Signing now gives him lots of financial security, but there’s a chance he leaves money on the table by signing early. There’s also the risk that Washington has peaked and Wall is stuck on a team that can’t contend for a title during his prime years. Both are very legitimate concerns for Wall to evaluate as he makes his decision.
Like Grunfeld said, there is no urgency here. Whether a deal gets done tomorrow or the day before the regular season starts, it all counts the same as long as he signs. But now that the team publicly predicted Wall will take the extension, they better hope they’re right, otherwise it’s going to be difficult to avoid their stated goal of no drama.