The Rockets and veteran point John Wall have agreed to seek a trade that could be mutually beneficial to both sides, ESPN and The Athletic are reporting.
The Rockets path forward is clear and that is they are building around the youthful backcourt of this year’s overall No.2 pick Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. There isn’t enough opportunity after them to keep an accomplished player like Wall happy, so the two sides have agreed to work together to find a trade destination that makes sense for both.
But the question is where?
The usual suspects like the Clippers, Heat, and Pistons have come up but none seem realistic given Wall’s bloated contract, age, and history of serious knee injuries.
Wall, who was acquired last season in the trade that sent All-Star Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards, is still owed $91.7 million over the next two years, which also includes a player option for $47.4 million in 2022-23.
It’s a tough ask for any NBA team, especially considering the 31-year-old Wall’s injury history. Wall, a former No. 1 pick, played in 41 games last season for the Rockets after returning to the court for the first time since Christmas 2018 following a serious knee injury. He showed some glimpses of his old self in averaging 20.6 points but he had the worst efficiency of any player who took at least 14 shots a game.
A team like Oklahoma City, which has the most available cap space, might be willing to take a look but the Thunder would be asking for several future first-round picks and the Rockets’ willingness to absorb a couple of their bad contracts.
The Rockets, who have already given up a lot of trade capital in the Chris Paul and Westbrook trades, are said to not be willing to entertain giving up much in the way of trade capital in a deal involving Wall as they attempt to build for the future. That leaves a buyout of Wall’s contract as the only realistic option, but the Rockets aren’t looking to do that at this point and it doesn’t seem like leaving guaranteed money on the table would make sense for Wall at this stage of his career.
That makes it highly unlikely Wall will be moved before the trade deadline in the middle of the upcoming season and more than likely his limbo status could linger into next summer.
In the meantime, the plan is for Wall to remain on the Rockets bench and support the team and the young players in any way he can. Wall and his leadership were critical to the team last season through the James Harden fiasco and then throughout all of the losing the Rockets endured.