LAS VEGAS — John Wall believes trading for a superstar should be a no-brainer, a move that should be seriously considered at any cost, no matter how people might perceive it.
Over the years Wall has been a reporter’s delight because of his tell-it-like-it-is nature. But his candor has produced consequences as his words have been dissected down to their syllables. Wall’s latest offseason quasi-controversy involved his open recruitment of Paul George at the start of free agency after the Pacers player said he wasn’t planning on staying in Indiana beyond his contract. Of course, bringing in the superstar would have meant the departure of Washington Wizards in-house small forward Otto Porter Jr. That was okay with Wall, according to an interview with ESPN, if it meant more playoff wins:
“Look at our team. We are one piece away,” Wall said. “We have the point guard, we have the shooting guard, we have the center, we have the power forward. Our three-man [Otto Porter Jr.] did great for us. You can’t take nothing away from what he did. But [George] is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It’s a piece that you’re going to need to win. If you don’t have a guy who can do that, you don’t have a chance. …
“You got to add another star. You got to add another piece. You got to have three guys. And that’s what it’s looking like.”
This story sparked interest on social media, and a simple Twitter search of “John Wall” and “bus” reveals how some reacted to the comments.
John Wall wants DeMarcus and others. Threw Otto under the bus saying they needed someone better
— David F-W (@LowBrassDude93) July 2, 2017
John Wall throwing Otto Porter under the bus and driving over him back and forth
— Ron (@rcw1168) June 27, 2017
Did John Wall throw Otto Porter under the bus with Paul George comments?
— SI Now (@SInowLIVE) June 27, 2017
On Monday, Wall appeared at the Wizards’ NBA Summer League game, and when asked about his remarks, he explained his position and offered no apologies.
“Otto’s going to be a great player for us, a great role player for a lot of teams. There’s a difference between a role player and a superstar. It’s a big difference. There’s a lot teams that will make a lot of trades for a superstar,” Wall said. “Look at Kevin Love getting traded for Andrew Wiggins, you never know who that player going to turn out to be.”
Then, Wall specifically addressed the reaction.
“It’s what people are going to say about it,” Wall said. “I love Otto as a teammate, but at the end of the day if you can make your team better, you can always do that. If people take it the wrong way, then so be it.”
George was eventually traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and last Saturday night, the Wizards matched the max contract offer sheet for Porter, thus ensuring his presence in the team’s core for at least the next four years.
On the topic of his own extension, Wall is in no rush. When Wall made the all-NBA third team after last season, he qualified for the designated player exception (a four-year deal that pays out the highest amount possible). While Wall reiterated his devotion to the city, he plans to carefully consider the decision that could keep him with the Wizards for the next six years and through the prime of his career.
“I’m just chillin’. Just trying to figure out to negotiate it and manipulate it the way you want it to be,” Wall said, smiling, when asked about his status on a decision. “Everybody know where I want to play and where I want to be. Everybody took it the wrong way [when it was reported] I wanted to wait. It’s a big decision. I love D.C.
“Everything I do, I do it for the city of D.C., I do so much in the community. If it wasn’t for the love of that, I wouldn’t do it.”