When John Wall left Washington, D.C., and came to the Houston Rockets for the 2020-21 season, it seemed like a rebirth of slick.
Wall averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 32.2 minutes per game as a Rocket. In 40 games last season, Wall amazingly resurrected himself from the doldrums his brand mired in after rehabbing knee and Achilles injuries.
John Wall and Rockets mutually agree to find a NEW TEAM for him 🚨
Where do you want to see him? 🤔
(per @ShamsCharania, via @swishcultures_) pic.twitter.com/HSAlPx9guk
— Overtime (@overtime) September 14, 2021
However, Wall’s rejuvenation as a premier NBA guard was not enough to embed Wall into the fabric of the franchise’s future.
Hitting A Wall
According to The Athletic, Wall and the Rockets have agreed to work on an amicable parting of the ways. The two sides met eye-to-eye on the franchise’s direction.
In addition, Wall has agreed to work with the team to find a new home for his talents.
Let’s not forget that John Wall did average 20 and 7 last year. I think the 3 teams that should pursue him are the Clippers, 76ers and Pelicans! Carry on… pic.twitter.com/a1sUiikKUO
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) September 14, 2021
Currently, the plan is for Wall to have a presence with the Rockets during training camp. However, Wall will not play in any games for Houston this season, according to reports.
Officials with the Houston Rockets met with Wall, expressing concern about compromising his health. Additionally, the team explained their direction, which does not include the five-time All-Star.
John Wall is available, @Lakers… pic.twitter.com/MwjOZdEhBA
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 14, 2021
According to reports, there are no buyout plans for the next two seasons and $91.7 million remaining on Wall’s contract, which includes a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Activating a buyout cuts ties between Wall and the Rockets but would make him immediately eligible to find a new team. In addition, it would keep the majority of his high salary cap number on Houston’s books.
The more I think about this, what a class move by John Wall. He could easily make this situation toxic and try to force a buyout or a less desirable trade ASAP, but he's working with the #Rockets so that the parting works for everyone. Respect.
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) September 14, 2021
If the Rockets trade Wall, the acquiring team will take on the remainder of Wall’s current contract. Additionally, a buyout diminishes the chance of a favorable trade return for the Rockets in the future.
However, Wall did not ask for a trade.
The Rockets are hedging their bets, holding Wall while waiting for a better time to decide on a trade. Smartly, they aren’t willing to risk an injury that would hurt the Rockets’ bargaining options in the future.
Wall has a notorious history of injuries. After missing most of the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons from an Achilles injury, Wall missed 32 of the 72 games the Rockets played in 2020-21.
NBA sources confirm @ShamsCharania report that the Rockets and John Wall are mutually working together to find a better fit for him. Sources say John Wall has not asked to be traded. According to sources the five-time All-Star simply isn’t part of the Rockets long-term plans.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 14, 2021
Per the Rockets’ long-term strategy, the team will give more playing time and touches to its younger players. The team wants to grow with these players and will advance that front through shared experience.
However, Wall is a part of the Rockets’ long-term strategy in that he will act as an elder statesman mentor at camp, helping Houston’s young roster.
Curating The Window of Opportunity
Wall could be watching his window of opportunity to win a championship close. Now entering his 12th year in the NBA, Wall has to be concerned with his team’s viability to make a title run. With many young players, Wall knows the chances of reaching title contention with the Rockets are slim.
How John Wall pulling up to the Sixers facility https://t.co/Tp9FylQaOt
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 14, 2021
The strategy ultimately works out well for Wall as he is getting paid not to play. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta must believe the tactic will boost his Wall’s future value with no potential for a derailing injury.
The Rockets are still Wall’s redemption team after injury. However, redemption occurs in more ways than one.