Last season, when the Houston Rockets traded away their wantaway star James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, John Wall stepped up and stated that he was now the franchise player in Houston.
That comment raised a few eyebrows given Wall’s injury history, age and declining production.
However, in one respect, Wall was absolutely right. He’s on schedule to be the joint second highest paid player in the NFL in the 2021/22 season (ironically, alongside James Harden) and only behind the point-scoring machine Steph Curry.
But that salary may well be the issue that is preventing Wall and the Rockets reaching an amicable settlement for Wall to be traded on to a new home.
Agreement Not To Play
While there is no question that the Rockets like what Wall has to offer, and similarly Wall has made it clear that he has enjoyed his time in Houston, it does appear as if the Rockets are moving in a new direction.
A total of four first round picks have come in at the Rockets during the off-season and Houston now seem eager to let Wall go so they can start the rebuilding programme with this nucleus of younger players.
It is rumoured by sources close to the Rockets camp that the original plan was for Wall to play the 2021/22 season in Houston before being moved on in the final year of his contract.
That plan though seems to have changed with Wall being granted a chance to move on, although his salary, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski makes it ‘almost impossible’ for him to find a new team.
“I think trading John Wall with two years left and over $90 million is almost impossible unless the Rockets, all of a sudden, decide they’re willing to attach a numb
er of first round picks and I don’t see that scenario,” stated Wojnarowski.
“I think he’s going to be in Houston a while unless he’s willing to take money and agree a buyout, but he doesn’t want to do that right now.”
Potential Landing Spots?
It’s not difficult to see why Wall’s appeal to other teams as things stand with his current contract is almost zero. Last season saw him not only miss a large percentage of games through injury, but his production levels were amongst the worst in his career across several categories.
What is abundantly clear is that if Wall is to get his desired move away from Houston, then he will need to broker some kind of buyout with the franchise in order to allow clubs to sign him for a more affordable contract.
However, few players are willing to give up tens of millions in order to facili
tate a move, simply to suit their current and new clubs.
Potential landing spots for the player have been mooted in Philadelphia for the 76ers, where Ben Simmons future is still very much unclear, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who still have plenty of cap space available and the rebuilding.
However, without some form of willingness from the Rockets and Wall to agree some type of deal, any move for the player looks likely to happen later on in the season, rather than before the season starts in the fall.