John Wall placed a star-spangled baseball cap on his head clutched his Team USA backpack and quietly walked through a tunnel at Thomas & Mack Center and into the Las Vegas sunset. His second USA Basketball audition had just ended and Wall was headed to Los Angeles where he had scheduled a workout and a discussion with his agent Dan Fegan about a contract extension with the Washington Wizards that will make him more wealthy than he ever imagined. Wall left the negotiations up to Fegan because he didn’t want them to distract him from making an impression at Team USA minicamp which he said was “a bigger goal than my contract or anything like that.” But he admitted he was aware of the Washington Wizards’ plans to offer him the five-year $80 million deal which he felt he had earned through his first three seasons with the rebuilding franchise. “It’s a dream come true if it happens that way and if that’s how it goes down” Wall said “but I really don’t know what to expect.” Should Wall and the Wizards agree on the contract he would join former MVP Derrick Rose and all-stars Chris Paul Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook as the only NBA point guards with maximum-salaried deals even though Wall has yet to reach an all-star game make a playoff appearance or win at least 30 games in any season. But he is prepared for the level of scrutiny that will trump anything he has faced as a top high school prospect a standout college player at Kentucky and the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA draft. “I’m ready for anything” Wall said. “I feel like how I’m working this summer and how I felt last season that I knew what it’d take and when I finally got healthy and I’m putting everything into my game. I’m always improving and I always had challenges growing up and nothing was ever given to me. I always earned it so I’m willing to do that.” Wall 22 offered hints at his potential last season when he returned from a stress injury in his left knee and finished with career highs of 18.5 points and 44.1 percent field goal shooting. Wall was dazzling over the final six weeks of the regular season scoring a career-high 47 points in a win over Memphis and handing out a career-high 16 assists to go along with 24 points in a comeback win over the Los Angeles Lakers. When asked what people should expect of him in his fourth season Wall said “That and even better. “I’m confident now and I’m ready to show the world what I’m capable of” Wall said. “This is the most confidence I ever felt. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been probably in my life. Just knowing what I know. I had a full summer to work on what I needed to. And just moving and growing and maturing as a player.” Wall felt similar confidence last summer after competing on a USA Basketball select team that scrimmaged against the London Olympic team. But less than two months later Wall began experiencing discomfort in his left knee that turned out to be a stress injury. He missed the first 33 games of the season.
Wizards’ John Wall confident, ‘ready for anything’ with max contract in sight
Washington Post | Jul 27