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How John Wall's injury affects the Wizards' many decisions this summer

How John Wall's injury affects the Wizards' many decisions this summer

With the 2018-19 season in the rearview for the Washington Wizards, we at NBC Sports Washington are analyzing the five biggest questions of what should be the most consequential offseason they have had in years...

NO. 4: HOW WILL JOHN WALL'S CONTRACT AFFECT ROSTER CONSTRUCTION?

Though there are several events this summer that could ultimately define the Wizards' offseason, one storyline will hang over everything and factor into just about every decision made by the front office and whomever ends up leading it as the team's new general manager. That is the future of John Wall, who is set to miss at least most of next season due to a ruptured left Achilles, in what will be the first year of his supermax contract.

Wall had surgery on Feb. 12. Even if he returns one year after going under the knife, he will still miss roughly 50 games next season. When he does come back, there are no guarantees he will be the same player. He turns 29 in September and a ruptured Achilles is a very serious injury, especially for a guy whose game has traditionally been reliant on speed.

The Wizards, of course, hope Wall will regain his peak form, but even if that happens it is unlikely to be the case right away. It may not be until the 2020-21 season until the Wizards get a true read on Wall post-surgery and how much value he can provide while making the money he is due. 

Speaking of the money, Wall will still take up a considerable chunk of the salary cap despite not playing. He is set to earn 35 percent of the cap next season, which right now is projected at about $37.8 million. Though that could technically fluctuate based on the final cap number, the percentage is what matters. The Wizards will basically have to build a roster with only 65 percent of the cap at their disposal.

There is an argument that Wall's injury is one of the biggest roster-building obstacles in NBA history. Supermax contracts, ones that allow players to make a contract that begins at 35 percent of the salary cap, are a new concept. And no one else has suffered such a serious injury while getting paid that type of money. 

It may not be quite what the Brooklyn Nets overcame in the fallout of their infamous trade with the Boston Celtics, the one that resulted in a net loss of three first round picks. But it's a bad situation, one that will require some creativity from whomever is tasked with pulling the Wizards out of it.

The long-term ramifications will depend on how Wall plays when he returns, but the short-term effect will clearly be felt. First, the Wizards have to have an insurance policy at point guard and a good one if they hope to compete for the playoffs. Maybe that is as simple as re-signing Tomas Satoransky, but regardless they have to shore up that position, knowing Wall's status.

Second, the Wizards need to find bargains to fill out the rest of their roster. They will have to find some cheap players simply to reach the 13-player minimum with Bradley Beal's max deal also on the books. Beal will earn roughly $27.1 million next season.

The biggest question as it pertains to Wall may deal with the NBA Draft on June 20. What if the Wizards get some luck in the May 14 draft lottery, but not enough to get the No. 1 pick (i.e. Zion Williamson), and Ja Morant is the best player on the board? Morant, of course, is the Murray State superstar who lit up the NCAA Tournament in March.

Morant is dynamic and has serious star potential, and he plays point guard. Wall was already asked about the potential of the Wizards drafting a point guard with a high pick. He said he would be fine with it, but that when he returns that draft pick can "be a great back-up" to him.

If the Wizards picked Morant, or even Coby White of North Carolina, it would arguably be the smart move to make. They need to select the best player available, no matter the position. 

But if they do take a point guard, that will present a unique dynamic to their locker room, especially if that player turns into a star. What if Morant comes in and lights it up as a rookie? How will Wall deal with that? And could you then put Morant on the bench when Wall returns, as Wall suggests they would?

Those are hypothetical scenarios that can be addressed if they actually enter the equation this summer and beyond. But there is no question that, even as Wall is sidelined with an injury, his presence will loom over the Wizards in many ways.

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Wizards' Greatest Hits: How to watch Wizards 2019 London miracle victory over the New York Knicks

Wizards' Greatest Hits: How to watch Wizards 2019 London miracle victory over the New York Knicks

The next edition of NBC Sports Washington's Wizards' Greatest Hits travels back in time to the first time the Wizards won a regular season game overseas.

Down by 19 in the first half, Knicks' Luke Kornet’s 14 points and Damyean Dotson’s 13 led New York to an early lead. But, the team's competitive fire is the reason they were capable of fighting back and coming within striking distance. 

"We're a competitive team," Beal said. "Win, lose, or draw, we stick together. We keep our heads high, we continue to get better. We're right here in the playoff hunt, which is where we want to be."

Wizards center Thomas Bryant capped off an impressive comeback with a game-winning basket on a goaltend with 0.4 seconds remaining. The Wizards trailed by a point after forcing their ninth turnover of the fourth quarter with 3.3 seconds left. Bradley Beal, who had 26 points in the game, gathered the in-bounds pass out of the timeout and found Bryant cutting to the rim.

You can relive that game (check your channel finder here). Here's everything you need to know. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

How to Watch: Wizards' Greatest Hits

Who: Washington Wizards @ New York Knicks — January 17, 2019

When: May 28 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: NBC Sports Washington (channel finder), Stream on the NBC Sports MyTeams App

Guest: Scott Brooks

Broadcast Schedule

6:00 PM Wizards Greatest Hits Wizards vs Bulls from April 29, 2014 (R)

7:00 PM Wizards Greatest Hits Wizards vs Knicks from January 17, 2019 (P)

8:00 PM American Ninja Warrior Denver Qualifying Hour 1 (R)

9:00 PM American Ninja Warrior Denver Qualifying Hour 2 (R)

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Report: Hall of Fame enshrinement for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan delayed until 2021

Report: Hall of Fame enshrinement for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan delayed until 2021

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN that the enshrinement ceremony for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and five others will be delayed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ceremony was to have taken place in Springfield on Aug. 29. Colangelo told ESPN that the event will be moved until the spring of 2021.

Colangelo did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. There was no immediate announcement from the Hall of Fame about the rescheduling plan.

"We're definitely canceling," Colangelo told ESPN. "It's going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We'll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where."

Bryant, Garnett and Duncan all got into the Hall in their first year as finalists, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings. The other members of the Class of 2020 were two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich, longtime Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley and three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton -- who died this past weekend.

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