Two of the NBA’s most recognizable point guards have been traded for one another in a somewhat expected blockbuster deal that picked up steam in recent weeks. The Houston Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a future first-round pick. The deal also includes protections for the draft pick for several years.
In recent weeks both players had expressed a desire to play elsewhere. The deal had been previously discussed ahead of the NBA free agency period a few weeks back, but never materialized. It’s what you call a slow-burning L for the Rockets who flipped Westbrook one season after acquiring him from the Thunder. The Rockets seem to be preparing for an intensified rebuild. The trade follows the departures of GM Daryl Morey and Head Coach Mike DAntoni. Their experiment of pairing Westbrook and James Harden basically backfired as they were once again eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals.
No Longer Top Dog In DC
Wall, on the other hand, reportedly told the Wizards he in fact hoped to be traded, upon hearing the team was in trade talks with Houston. The famed Kentucky product and the No 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, missed all of the 2019-20 season due to a torn Achilles and was falling out of grace with the franchise.
Gang Affiliations Are A Bad Look For A Franchise Face
In September, Wall was seen flashing gang signs at a party in New York City, he later apologized but the incident didn’t sit well with the Wizards’ upper management and many others throughout the organization. For the face of an organization and max money player to be openly hanging with gang members and proudly throwing it up on IG is rather inexplicable.
Gang culture is what it is. When it comes to Black folks in America, the connections to gangs span generations and the culture is a complicated balance for some who have made it out of the hood, but still hang with childhood friends who may not have evolved at the same pace.
The fact that he allowed that footage to get out shows that he is out of touch with reality. Not judging, just saying, that’s totally not the optics the NBA wants. That coupled with the play of star shooting guard Bradley Beal — who has emerged as the team’s top-scoring threat and team leader in his absence — probably made Wall much more expendable.
Beef With Front Office
Wall didn’t help matters when he reportedly became upset at hearing GM Tommy Sheppard say the team going forward would be built around Beal. In his ten years as a member of the Wizards, Wall had some great moments for the franchise but his immaturity and propensity to injuries over the last few years had run its course in DC.
Maybe he will get a fresh start in Houston as James Harden’s sidekick, No defense will be played in Houston (maybe Steve Silas can work his magic…we doubt it) but hella points will be scored and it will be interesting seeing what kind of chemistry Wall and Harden — two hoops divas — can develop.