The Wizards, always Wizarding around, are on the verge of signing John Wall to the maximum-allowable contract extension — a five-year, $80 million mega-deal that precludes the Wizards from signing any of their other current players, including Bradley Beal, to five-year extensions after their rookie deals expire down the road.
The Wizards are making a bet, and if Wall plays this season as he played the final two months or so of last season, it’s a bet Washington will either win handily or lose by such a small margin that it’s ultimately meaningless. But it’s a bet they in no way have to make, and probably shouldn’t. Without an extension by October 31, Wall would enter restricted free agency next summer, a process the incumbent team — the Wizards — controls almost completely. The very worst possible outcome, at least among outcomes that are even remotely likely, is that Wall signs a max-level offer sheet with another team — a deal the Wizards, if they are so inclined, could immediately match.
That offer sheet could run for only four years, and carries smaller raises than the Wizards can offer, meaning it would constitute a shorter and slightly smaller cap hit than the five-year deal the Wiz are about to give Wall. So the Wiz-Bangs have several variables to weigh as they make this decision:
• The value of waiting an extra season to learn more information about the current state of Wall’s game, how he’ll mesh with Beal and Otto Porter, and how much he might improve going forward. Spoiler alert: This, to me, is the most important variable at play. Wall has played only three NBA seasons. He suffered various knee-related injuries in his rookie season that forced him to miss 13 games of that campaign and lingered into his second season — the chaotic lockout-shortened campaign in which Wall played all 66 games.
There are a number of incredible stories currently populating the sports pages here in the nation's capital. Obviously and quite appropriately, the heroics of His Holiness the Black Jesus Robert Griffin III predominate. Not only does he seem to win an award or set a new Redskins or NFL rookie record every game he plays, but, in the unlikeliest of unlikely turns, he also has this town dreaming about the possibility of playoffs. The Redskins host the Giants next Monday night, which will also mark the first relevant football game played in D.C. in December in almost seven years (to be truthful, it feels like 70).
It’s never too early in an NBA season to judge a player or team’s performance — just ask Mike Brown. The season has just begun, but important trends are already emerging. Some are familiar; some are brand-new. In terms of scoring, as of Friday, NBA players had made 11,039 out of their 24,940 shots (44.2 percent), which is slightly down from last season’s 44.8 percent, which was slightly down from the 2010-11 season mark of 45.8 percent. Looking at scoring across the league on a team-by-team basis, some interesting things start to emerge. One of them is the disparity between two teams in the NBA’s Southeast division: Miami and Washington. It's been a tale of two cities. In one, we see unmatched offensive firepower. In the other, it’s a tale of woe.
We went back to simpler times on the BS Report today you know, those days when there were two winter sports to discuss and we needed to split a podcast up into two parts to properly cover both of them.
In Part 1, Yahoo!'s Greg Wyshynski (of Puck Daddy fame) came on to discuss Alex Ovechkin's mysterious disappearance this season, Sid the Kid's comeback, the rejuvenated Bruins, his hatred for shootouts, his fetish for Russian goon videos, whether it is smart to have two good goalies, Tyler Seguin vs. Taylor Hall, whether the Maple Leafs are for real, whether hockey fans are the best fans in sports, and how weird it is that I suddenly have opinions on many of these things. Here's the ESPN.com PodCenter link and iTunes link for Part 1.
In Part 2, we called my buddy Joe House to have our long-awaited Red-and-Andy/Mexico hug about the end of the NBA lockout, then tried to predict what the next three weeks might look like even though it's been so long that we could barely remember who this month's free agents are and what the new rules were. We also talked about whether we like the shorter schedule, whether there's a guaranteed "smart" title pick for Vegas purposes right now, where Nene and Marc Gasol might be going, which teams might be able to sneakily improve themselves with a couple of shrewd signings, and whether House was even qualified to be appearing on this podcast after calling O.J. Mayo "J.J. Mayo." It's an action-packed romp and we're delighted to have the NBA back, even if I'm still pissed off that the league went away for five months. Here's the ESPN.com PodCenter link and iTunes link for Part 2.