More than ever, the NBA is becoming a player’s league. Regardless of what’s written in a contract, organizations are at the mercy of their most valuable players. When a star is unhappy with the direction of their team, they can demand changes and request trades. This past season, James Harden figuratively kicked, screamed, and clawed his way onto the Brooklyn Nets roster.
With the 2021-2022 season nearly two months away, the Houston Rockets are rumored to be pursuing trade offers for John Wall. After the departure of Harden and over 50 regular season losses, Wall has hinted at wanting to play for another NBA organization.
The North Carolina native averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game in his first season as a Rocket. The guard’s latest stats indicate respectable productivity at 30 years old, yet declining performance and injury proneness hurts his trade value.
Swapping stars of the 2010s is becoming a normality for the Rockets. In the last three years, Houston traded Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook, and then Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall. As suggested from this pattern, Wall may be replaced by another veteran guard before the NBA’s season opener.
In the scenario that Houston management decides to trade Wall, the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as Wall’s perferred destination. Wall’s rumored move to Los Angeles started back in July, when the former NBA All-Star liked a tweet suggesting the idea.
The tweet from MSN Sports contains an article written by Joey Linn of FanSided. In this article, ‘Rate the Trade: John Wall to the Clippers’, Linn proposes swapping Marcus Morris, Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, and Luke Kennard for John Wall and Houston’s 2023 first round pick via the Bucks.
With Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley recently traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers may want to continue building on their momentum. In the most plausible scenario, Los Angeles could offer the newly acquired Eric Bledsoe and role players, such as Luke Kennard and/or Marcus Morris, in exchange for Wall. This idea would require a trade exception and additional assets to interest both parties.
Keeping in mind Houston’s abundance of promising youth, including guards Kevin Porter and Jalen Green, Wall’s absence would free up more minutes for this new crop to develop. The Rockets may still want to maintain a veteran presence, though Wall isn’t necessarily the best fit for that role, especially after expressing interest in departing from the franchise.
Salary cap is another key reason why Houston may entertain trade offers for the aging star. Wall is set to earn over $40 million for the 2021-2022 season, the third-highest salary in the league. The highest paid player of the upcoming season will be Stephen Curry, followed by James Harden. With such a hefty contract attached to Wall, it’ll take serious bargaining before a deal is reached for a player not at an MVP level.
Sharing the court with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard may be John Wall’s ideal scenario. However, as evident from Leonard’s one year stint in Toronto, teams make trades, not players. What Houston can do with this information is continue exploring trade packages for the former All-Star. With all factors in mind, an eventual departure seems beneficial for both parties.
Will the Rockets trade John Wall this season?
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