LAS VEGAS -- Two years ago, John Wall's max contract extension for five years and $80 million went under heavy scrutiny. Now, getting the two-time All-Star who has led the Wizards to the Eastern Conference semifinals twice since then, looks like a bargain.
"People talk about me getting $80 million, now you got people getting $85 million that haven't made the All-Star (Game) or anything like that," Wall said Tuesday while watching his summer league team compete vs. the Dallas Mavericks at Thomas & Mack Center. "I guess they came in at the right time. That new CBA kicked in and they're good now. Reggie Jackson gets five years, $80 million. I'm getting the same as Reggie Jackson."
Credit the collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap jumping to $70 million when it was reset a few days ago after the league's audit of finances from the 2014-15 season. The market, and basic supply and demand, and the NBA having a champion (Golden State Warriors) who won using small-ball lineups have made guards even more valuable. The Detroit Pistons rewarded Jackson accordingly.
"That's what happens," Wall said. "But I'm happy for all those guys. To see anybody get the opportunity to live their dream out, get the opportunity to take care of their family when they can, it's a blessing."
Now that Paul Pierce has left in free agency to join the Los Angeles Clippers, with Wall entering his sixth season he realizes the responsibility grows. The Wizards added Jared Dudley, Gary Neal and Alan Anderson since free agency opened July 1.
"It's tough losing Paul, a great veteran guy like that that helped us in the locker room, helped us in those close games," Wall said. "Adding Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson, those guys can defend and make shots for us. It makes our team a little deeper.
"I wasn't shocked (Pierce left). I kind of knew it. You kind of can tell by their voice they're leaving or they're going to retire. I think he really wanted to come back to D.C. He enjoyed it. He wanted a two-year deal with us and I knew it probably wasn't going to work after that. Then have the opportunity to be back in L.A. with his family, stay in his own house, have the opportunity to reunite with (coach) Doc Rivers and (assistant coach) Sam Cassell, I knew it was going to happen."