Technically, the Washington Wizards have John Wall signed thru 2013-2014 but, he is eligible for an extension this summer. Wall has recently came out and said while he will deal with it when the time comes, he definitely feels that he is worthy of a max contract. This places the Wizards in a tough spot. While Wall is definitely one of the cornerstones of the their team and point guard now as well as the future, he hasn’t done anything to deserve a max deal to this point.
The Wizards and Wall can approach his impending extension a few different ways. The team can decide to just extend him a max deal and go on making the same customary boneheaded decisions that has lead to years of bottom feeding in the NBA. This will indeed please Wall but cripple the future of this team if Wall doesn’t get much better than he already is currently. While the payroll decreases substantially after next season with the exception of the contract of Nene, overpaying should be far from the mind of the Wizards.
Another approach the team could take, allow Wall to play out next season to see if he improves upon his game any more before talking extension. Wall will still be an restricted free agent when he does hit the market so there is no immediate risk of losing him. Allowing him to go into free agency knowing they have the opportunity to match any deal could also help in setting the market value for Wall which in turn could save the team from dishing out a max contract. On the flip side, the Wizards run the risk of insulting the ego of Wall by allowing him to go without the max deal he feels he is worthy of. Keeping a player on your team because you can, and not because he wants to be there, would be counterproductive to the type of locker room the Wizards have been trying to build for the last few years.
Another option, Wall and the Wizards come to a mutual understanding that he isn’t yet worth a max deal but they still show him plenty of love on a new deal. One solution could be to give a three year deal instead of a five year deal. This would allow Wall to still get paid but have the option to leave if he feels Washington isn’t where he wants to be. This also allows the Wizards to continue to have financial flexibility while also seeing if Wall turns into that player that deserves the max amount of money. If both sides understand that neither of them are where they want to be but together than can turn the franchise around, a comprise shouldn’t be too hard to come about.