John Wall is not walking back his recruitment of Paul George.
He wants to make it clear, however, that he loves Otto Porter.
As the All-Star point guard told CSN Mid-Atlantic’s J. Michael:
“There’s nothing wrong about it. I know what Otto means for our team, what he does,” Wall said while watching the Wizards play the Miami Heat on Monday. “Otto is going to be a great player for us, a great role player for a lot of teams. It’s a difference between a role player and a superstar. A lot of teams will make a trade for a superstar. … I know what love in Otto as a teammate but at the end of the day if you can make your team better you always do that. If people take it the wrong way then so be it.”
I have so many feelz.
A large part of me wants to appreciate Wall’s candor. We cannot implore athletes to give us more than cookie-cutter dreck, and then denigrate them when they deliver. Wall has, for the most part, always been an insightful quote, something for which he should be commended.
But I have trouble reconciling him now twice making dismissive comments about Porter, who is, arguably, his most important teammate. The 24-year-old has a ways to go before he’s an All-NBA defender, if he ever gets there, but he’s already the Washington Wizards’ most deadly shooter, and they rely on him to do a lot defensively. He should only get better, and more so than any other restricted free agent, he is worth a max-contract gamble.
It’s not unreasonable to expect a little more tact from Wall. He’s the leader of the Wizards, and referring to Porter as merely a role player, or recruiting George at his expensive, misses the mark. Maybe he’s the type of guy who will make it all good in the locker room later on, but the optics here just aren’t great. Porter is on your team; another megastar isn’t. The Wizards have paid him like an All-Star, because the NBA values players with his skill set, and there’s a chance he develops into the ideal No. 2 for a contender. It seems like Wall could be showing more appreciation and respect for the ceiling placed above Porter, even if his preference is to play with established All-Stars right now.