Speaking today to reporters, including Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link), Wizards owner Ted Leonsis acknowledged that injured point guard John Wall “probably won’t play” during the 2019/20 season.
Wall is recovering from an Achilles tear he suffered earlier this year and the Wizards are taking his recovery and rehab process slowly to make sure they get it right, Leonsis said today.
Wall is entering the first season of a four-year, $171MM super-max contract which will run through the 2022/23 season, so the Wizards will certainly be motivated to get him healthy and rebuild his value for the last few years of that deal.
Leonsis’ comments confirm what we already expected, since a report earlier this month indicated that the Wizards had applied for a disabled player exception as a result of Wall’s injury. A DPE permits a team to replace a seriously injured player by adding someone without using cap space.
Before granting the exception, the league would have to rule that the injured player is “substantially more likely than not” to be out of action through at least June 15 of the league year. There has been no word on whether the Wizards’ request been approved, but even applying for a DPE represented a tacit acknowledgement that Wall was unlikely to play in 2019/20.
If the Wizards receive a disabled player exception, it would be worth $9.258MM. The club would be able to use it to sign a player to a one-year contract worth up to that amount, or to trade for a player on an expiring contract, assuming his salary fits into the DPE. It could also be used on a waiver claim.