The LeBron to the Lakers NBA trade rumors grow hotter by the day, but a new name in the potential 2018 LA party is starting to surface – the Wizards’ John Wall.
Wall has not yet signed his super max contract with Washington, which would make him a James Harden-like wealthy man, and is instead offering up non-commital quotes about his future in Washington.
“I’m just chilli’n,” Wall said at the NBA Summer League in Vegas. “Just figuring out how to negotiate … Everybody knows I wanna play where I wanna be. And everybody took it the wrong way in saying I want to wait. It’s a big decision … Everything I do I do it for the city of D.C.. I do so much in the community. If it wasn’t for the love, I wouldn’t do it. I just gotta sit back and weigh my options on where I want to be for the next 8-10 years – basically my whole career. So, that’s all I’m doing.”
It’s clear that Wall knows that this next step in his basketball life is crucial, and money does not seem to be the overriding factor. The Wizards are in salary cap hell, and the rest of the NBA knows it (the Nets’ Otter Porter offer sheet stuff was interesting to say the least). Signing a superstar-level player to place next to Wall in free agency is virtually impossible for the Wizards moving forward. A trade is their only hope. But over half the NBA has better tradeable assets than Washington (Kelly Oubre is the Wizards only real “chip”).
Wall’s comments a few weeks back regarding wanting to play with Paul George raised some eyebrows as well.
“I am talking to some guys – Paul,” Wall told The Undefeated. “I know his ultimate goal of where he wants to be. I’m trying to see if we can make something happen.”
The initial thought was that Wall was talking about that combo playing in Washington. Now, with Wall taking his sweet time on signing a new deal, that thought is shifting 2,600 miles West. A super-super team involving Wall, LeBron, George and even DeMarcus Cousins could be Magic Johnson’s ultimate goal with the Lakers.
“Here’s the interesting part,” The Ringer’s Bill Simmons said on his podcast last week. “So, John Wall, represented by Klutch – Rich Paul – LeBron’s buddy. LeBron, it’s pretty clear he either owns Klutch or funded it or has a stake in it. You could have John Wall and LeBron. Paul George is going to the Lakers anyway. I mean, that’s not even a secret anymore. It’s just like, they might as well start selling his jersey. And I always thought John Wall and Boogie [Cousins] are a team … I feel like 2018, I think that summer they’re like, ‘We’re a package deal.”
Cousins can become a free agent in 2018, ditto for LeBron and George. But Wall won’t be eligible for free agency until 2019. That’s why, if the Wizards truly get frightened that Wall won’t sign the super max contract (Washington fans are getting there quickly), they might opt to trade him next summer so that they get something in return.
The Lakers would be forced to offer up some good young talent to the Wizards in a potential deal, if only to clear salary cap space for the incoming stars (they all would have to take substantial pay cuts). Lonzo Ball is likely untouchable, but the Lakers having to give up Brandon Ingram might appease the Wizards some. Given that the Pacers got back peanuts in exchange for George in a somewhat similar situation, Washington would have to consider that a win.