The Wizards and John Wall are closing in on a deal that will keep him in Washington through at least 2019.
Wall and the Wizards are near an agreement on a maximum contract extension worth roughly $80 million over the next five years, according to multiple published reports. The Wizards began negotiations with Wall’s agent, Dan Fegan, last week.
Both sides have until Oct. 31 to reach an agreement to avoid letting Wall become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014. By signing Wall to a five-year max deal, the Wizards would designate Wall as their franchise player and prohibit any other player from signing a similar deal within the organization.
Wall, 22, has averaged 16.9 points and eight assists in three seasons since the Wizards made him the No. 1 overall selection of the 2010 NBA draft. He missed the first 33 games last season with a stress injury in his right knee but returned with a strong finish, averaging 18.5 points and 7.6 assists to lead the Wizards to a 24-25 record. Late last season, Wall was adamant about receiving the maximum contract allowed and added that he would be “hurt” if he didn’t receive what he believed he was worth.
Wall is currently participating in Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, where he is among 28 up-and-coming players hoping to earn a spot on a team to play in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball next summer in Spain or with at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
“I’ve improved,” Wall said after Wednesday’s practice. “I got better as a player. I think my jump shot is better, my IQ is better and just learning the game and being a better leader.
“I feel like I’m the player I want to be, but I still have a lot I want to do,” Wall said. “I could become a better passer, a better defender, I haven’t reached my potential yet. I’m taking it step by step. Sometimes it doesn’t come right away, but I just think, me having the right coaching staff and the right people around me, just helped me grow as a player.”
In Wall’s three seasons in Washington, the Wizards have only won 72 games and he has yet to make an all-star team. But the Wizards have undergone a lengthy and painful rebuilding effort that included trading away Gilbert Arenas his rookie season and completing the culture change with the removal of JaVale McGee, Nick Young and Andray Blatche in subsequent seasons. Wall has stated that the playoffs are his primary goal for his fourth season.
“We’re right there. If we stay healthy, we’re right there,” Wall said. “I’m cool on individual things. I’m more focused on getting to the playoffs. I feel like we have a great chance.”