Regardless of the team's new veteran additions, the Washington Wizards braintrust has maintained the same mantra: build with youth. The exercising of a half-dozen contract extensions including point John Wall shows the plan remains the same.
The Wizards picked up fourth-year contract options for Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, along with fellow rising third-year players Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford. Washington also exercised third-year contract options on Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, both first round selections in 2011. All six players are now signed with the team through the 2013-14 season, though terms were not released.
“We have been able to bring in and develop this core group of talented, mature young players over the last several years, and we’re pleased to have them all signed through next season,” team President Ernie Grunfeld said. “Combining them with the veterans we’ve added gives us a solid foundation that can be competitive now while allowing us to continue to build towards future success.”
Ultimately, nothing stunning here, though worth noting that starting with the 2014-15 season Wall and the other members of the 2010 draft class become restricted free agents. Contracts must be negotiated, not simply exercised
Wall, out for the first month of the upcoming season with a leg stress injury, was one of only three NBA players last season to average at least 16 points and eight assists. In 135 career games, the electric 6-foot-4 guard has averaged 16.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.6 steals and became the sixth fastest player in NBA history (124 games) to tally 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.
Booker and Seraphin have improved significantly over their respective young careers and both figure prominently into the Wizards frontcourt rotation this year. The same can be said of the volume shooting Crawford, who averaged a career-high 14.7 points last season.
Vesely and Singleton had bumpy first seasons in Washington, but showed flashes of potential. While neither forward's role is defined entering this campaign, it's far too early in their careers to even contemplate moving on.