Despite the fact that the plan is already public knowledge, it looks that the Houston Rockets and veteran guard John Wall will not officially split ways until the NBA’s next offseason in mid-2022.
While Wall is anticipated to report to the Rockets’ training camp in late September and serve as a coach to younger players, he is not expected to play in any games. Furthermore, it looks that the one-of-a-kind arrangement may last the entire season if necessary.
The Houston Chronicle’s Danielle Lerner and Jonathan Feigen report:
According to a source close to the matter, there are no talks of a buyout, and the Rockets are unlikely to deal Wall before the trade deadline unless there is an injury to a team in desperate need of guard help. The Rockets are “leaning into the future,” according to the source, and want to assist Wall in landing a desirable position while also keeping their options open for signing players who can help them win now.
Lots of people are assuming Wall will miss the entire season. That might be the case, but might not. Wall wants to find the right landing spot. The Rockets want good value for him but may have to eat up a few months of his salary to do so. Things change rapidly.— Danielle Lerner (@danielle_lerner) September 14, 2021
The issue is, of course, Wall’s severe injury history in recent years, as well as his enormous deal, which calls for him to earn more than $91 million over the next two seasons.
With two years remaining on his current contract, NBA teams appear to view Wall as a negative asset. While the Rockets naturally want to give younger players more minutes and touches, it makes little sense for a rebuilding team to attach large draft assets to Wall in order to find a buyer, especially when those picks are critical to the rebuild.
Even if moving Wall would provide salary cap flexibility in 2022, general manager Rafael Stone is unlikely to be interested, since a rebuilding team is unlikely to attract senior free agents.
As a result, the best possibility — especially if Wall is on board with the idea and willing to hang out for the sake of Houston’s rebuilding effort, as he looks to be — is to simply postpone a trade until NBA teams see Wall’s value as more favorable.
If another team has to fill an injury void and/or competitor owners become less hesitant to take on the 31-year-payroll old’s once a major amount of his 2021-22 payments is done, that might happen as soon as next February’s trade deadline. It’s also possible that concerns about Wall’s injury history may fade as teams won’t require him to play a complete season at that point.
However, it looks that Stone and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta are ready to wait until Wall’s contract expires in order to make a reasonable trade. Even if it means paying his nearly $45 million salary for not playing in any games.
Via @danielle_lerner, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul (John Wall's agent) confirms that Wall will attend #Rockets training camp "but is expected to sit out the season, while he and the team work together on a trade."https://t.co/a2sRJbJcCJ— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) September 14, 2021
Source: MSN Sports