John Wall will not play for the Houston Rockets this season. For now, the veteran point guard will remain with the team and attend training camp with the expectation that the Rockets will work on a trade, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Per Charania, the Rockets recently met with Wall and explained that they prefer to go in a younger direction after adding four first-round picks in this year’s draft, including No. 2 overall selection Jalen Green. As of now, there are no plans to work on a buyout for Wall, who still has two years and $91.7 million left on his contract — the final year of which is a player option that Wall will likely pick up.
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Wall was traded to the Rockets last season in a blockbuster deal that saw Russell Westbrook go to the Washington Wizards. When he suited up for Houston, it was his first action since December of 2018. He had missed two entire years due to injuries, including a torn Achilles tendon.
Although he looked like his old self at times, familiar issues cropped up once again. Wall dealt with various injuries, including a knee problem which the team initially feared would have to be scoped at some point in the season. That didn’t come to pass, but he was later ruled out for the final 12 games due to a hamstring problem. In all, he played just 40 games, averaging 20.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds, while shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point land.
As the Rockets transition into a full rebuild led by the likes of Green and Christian Wood, it makes sense to part ways with Wall. Not only does he not fit the team’s timeline, but he would take vital reps away from some of the team’s young backcourt prospects.
Finding a way to make it happen, however, figures to be a major challenge for the Rockets’ front office. Wall is going to want to play for a contender at this stage of his career, but are any contenders going to want Wall? Perhaps if he was a free agent, but his massive contract makes a trade very difficult. It’s understandable that the Rockets want to try and get something back for Wall, but they may have to eventually settle for a buyout.
In any case, it appears that Wall and the Rockets are on the same page here, so there shouldn’t be any distractions like there were last season with the James Harden situation. While Wall would obviously prefer to play, being paid to stay in shape isn’t a bad gig either.