The Houston Rockets entered the 2020-21 NBA season with far different expectations than where they currently are. James Harden is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets, Christian Wood is a strong Most Improved Player of the Year candidate, and other players like Kevin Porter Jr. and Kelly Olynyk are thriving on their new team. Could John Wall be on the move as their rebuild progresses?
On Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon stated how it’s a ‘matter of when, not if, the buyout talks heat up again’ between John Wall and the Houston Rockets.
“I think we all understand that it’s a matter of when, not if, the buyout talks heat up again,” MacMahon said. “You can’t do it with $92 million left, but (maybe) when there’s $47 million left on his last year?”
It won’t be easy for the Rockets to move on from Wall. With Russell Westbrook playing at such a high-level after finding his rhythm, Wall has the least favorable contract in the NBA. Coming off consecutive season-ending injuries, he is earning roughly $41.3 million this season and is under contract through 2022-23.
According to The Athletic’s John Hollinger, the Rockets could take lessons from the buyout agreement the Detroit Pistons reached with Blake Griffin in order to move on from Wall.
“Do we think John Wall could get two years, $20 million in free agency right now? If he’s the caliber of player who could still start for some teams, even with the health questions, that seems a fair price — maybe even on the low side. And if so, does it make more sense for Houston to accept that haircut in a buyout deal with Wall rather than keeping him around for another year of nightly drubbings?
“Such an arrangement would be similar to Blake Griffin’s with Detroit, except that Wall wouldn’t even have to leave any money on the table. Houston would lower its cap hit over the next two years from $92 million to (roughly) $72 million, and Tilman Fertitta would no doubt be elated that he could spread the payments over five seasons. (This is true even if the Rockets do not use the stretch provision on the cap hit.)”
The Houston Rockets clearly are in the midst of a long-term rebuild. They already have some intriguing pieces who are on favorable contracts, so taking the cap hit after buying out John Wall seems to be the best course of action. It would enable the team to provide greater opportunity to the players who are the future of the franchise.
If John Wall reaches NBA free agency in the offseason, he will join Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schroder, Lonzo Ball, and potentially Mike Conley and Goran Dragic as intriguing names to watch in NBA rumors at the point guard position.