John Wall is expectedly exercising his $47 million player option with the Houston Rockets, according to reports.
That has left the NBA world wondering what the team will do with him. The 2010 No. 1 overall pick reluctantly sat the season out while trying to negotiate moves with the Rockets front office.
He was traded from the Wizards to the Rockets for Russell Westbrook after recovering from a gruesome series of injuries and infections that kept him from playing.
Once he recovered and was traded to the Rockets, the idea was Houston would have him and Demarcus Cousins as formidable teammates to surround then-Rocket James Harden.
Rockets PG John Wall will exercise his $47.4 million player option, as expected. More on Wall being traded or bought out, futures of Eric Gordon and Christian Wood, and extension chances for Jae’Sean Tate and Kevin Porter Jr with @BenDuBose on @hoopshype. https://t.co/x0mkIrF4ax
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) April 7, 2022
That stint didn’t work out, as a frustrated Harden was soon traded to the Brooklyn Nets and Houston decided to begin a rebuilding process.
John Wall, by the beginning of this season, was ready to play full time for the Rockets and was open to playing and helping mentor the young players on the team, but the Rockets had other plans, and as a result they shut Wall down. He hasn’t played a single game this season.
His last appearance was just under a year ago against the Clippers, where he had 27 points and 13 assists in a losing effort.
Optimus Dime is far past his prime but has still shown the ability to be serviceable and effective on the court. Last season in 40 games played John Wall averaged 20 points per game, seven assists, and shot 40 percent from the field.
John Wall since signing a 4-year, $171M supermax:
• 2019-20 (0 games played, injury)
• 2020-21 (40 games played, injury)
• 2021-22 (0 games played)
Worst contract in NBA history? pic.twitter.com/90dDPip3o9
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 4, 2022
He still has a quick, explosive step and has even worked on shooting from the perimeter, attempting six 3-pointers a game and shooting 31 percent from three.
There is still a substantial amount of interest for John Wall across the league, and the Lakers reportedly almost pulled the trigger on a Westbrook-Wall trade that almost sent Westbrook back to Houston before the trade deadline.
Still, the Lakers did not want to pull the trigger.
With John Wall exercising his player option, he’s essentially opting in for one more huge payday (a part of his four-year, $171 million contract) before presumably being paid like a veteran role player.
Almost any player in that situation is exercising that option because it is safe to say John Wall will never make $47 million a year from an NBA contract ever again.
He spent his whole season getting paid sitting on the bench, even though he wanted to play for his money and was willing to work with the coaching staff and players to help improve the team and mentor the young guards such as Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.
Now that he will be under contract in Houston for at least one more year, the question now is what does Houston do with Wall from here?
They’re in a rebuilding stage right now, and they feel as if they do not need Wall anymore.
“As expected, John Wall will exercise his $47.4 million player option for next season, I’m told,” USA Today writer Michael Scotto said this week on the “HoopsHype Podcast.”
“After that, the Rockets will have time to look for a trade to move Wall,” Scotto continued. “If Houston can’t find a trade partner for Wall, his representation at Klutch Sports is expected to work with the Rockets on a buyout agreement before next season.
“A potential buyout agreement would allow Wall to take advantage of the (free agent) market. Wall turns 32 in September. He’s healthy. I’ve heard he’d like to be on a winning team and have a role.”
Although Wall has been patient with Houston on what they wanted to do with him, he’s been hungry to play for a year, and even though he doesn’t want do too much waiting beyond this offseason, that may be within his best interest to collect the bag.
The best part about this player option Wall is exercising is that the ball is in his court. He doesn’t have to agree to a contract buyout (why should he?), and can essentially spend another year preparing for a comeback on a contender next season, while resting and collecting every penny of the $47.4 million contract.
A win-win situation for Wall, because collecting all of that money and not having to risk injury to reserve yourself for another team down the line is already a win. But also having the power to decide if you wanna be bought out or not is a chess move that Wall is executing perfectly. Plus, if the Rockets can manage to deal Wall to another team, he will still be able to get his money, and finally be able to play again.
One way or another, John Wall will definitely get what he wants, and most likely still will end up on a competitor team with a decent role, playing for a championship. He’s securing the bag, with little to no risk to himself.