The career arc of John Wall has made yet another turn. After
being traded to the Houston Rockets last offseason for Russell
Westbrook, Wall is now set to join his third team in as many
seasons. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Wall and the
Rockets’ front office have agreed upon him being active in
training camp, but sitting out games as they try to move him.
It's the logical next step in a massive tear-down rebuild, which
was put into motion with the James Harden blockbuster eight months
ago to this day.
Wall was the salary-filler needed to move Westbrook — who was a
part of another star backcourt combination that didn’t work out
alongside Harden — but the former has also has served a pivotal
role to the current version of Houston’s roster. As the veteran on
a tanking team, Wall embraced his leadership role to its full
extent, being a guiding voice for young prospects. Wall averaged
20.6 points, 6.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals last season
However, following unfortunate injury luck related to a torn
Achilles tendon, Wall simply doesn’t look the same as he did in his
prime years being the face of the Washington Wizards franchise. For
years, Wall was the most electric point guard in the Association
thanks to his quickness and explosiveness towards the basket. At 31
years old, Wall's performances have taken a dip from an average
efficiency mark to an abysmal one. Wall shot a career-low 40.4%,
including a 50.3% True Shooting percentage clip — the worst since
his rookie campaign in 2010-11.
Wall just doesn’t fit the timeline for the Rockets, who are
ready to embrace their youth movement head-on. No. 2 overall pick
Jalen Green headlines an enticing core of prospects in Houston.
Alongside Green, Kevin Porter Jr. will help form an entertaining backcourt
filled to the brim with hot creation ability. Rookies Alperen
Sengun and Usman Garuba will join Jae'Sean Tate to make up a
promising trio of bigs. First-year swingman Josh Christopher and
Kenyon Martin Jr. also add their fun mix to the wing
Wall will still be around the team until a deal happens (if that
ever comes to pass with the negative value associated with his
remaining $91.7 million through 2022-23). Being a valuable mentor
for Green and Porter will only be a positive for Houston’s
long-term outcome, and learning from a dynamic point guard like
Wall certainly helps the future outlook for not only Green, but
This could become a new trend for players on good terms with
their organizations, only when it’s apparently obvious a deal is
best for both sides. Kevin Love’s situation in Cleveland could be
the next Wall-like story to surface in the NBA rumor mill soon
But who would be interested in taking on Wall’s contract?
Houston would have to surrender some draft capital, being the
immediate “losers” of the trade. When canvassing the landscape,
very few fits bubble to the surface. However, there’s a small
possibility for the following three organizations.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Any time a player with a bad contract becomes available,
Oklahoma City is No. 1 on any potential destination. The Thunder
are not being shy about their intentions over the next few years —
stockpile as many draft picks as possible to take swings on high
upside prospects to build around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Acquiring Wall would be an interesting move for a Thunder team
who just invested heavy draft capital in the backcourt (Josh
Giddey, Tre Mann), but we can never rule them out in a scenario
like this. If Houston offers any future draft compensation to
general manager Sam Presti, he would bite.
Wall would form a fun backcourt alongside SGA while also serving
in the mentor role he just exited in Houston. If Wall were to
rebuild his value for a year with the Thunder, Presti would be able
to potentially receive some positive value in return next
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: John Wall, future draft
Houston Rockets receive: Derrick Favors, Isaiah Roby or
Dallas has been in the market for a point guard. Whether it be
Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry or Spencer Dinwiddie, the Mavs have
sniffed around adding another ball-handler who could take pressure
off Luka Doncic. Wall isn’t the perfect fit next to Dallas’ young
phenom — who’s an MVP favorite entering his fourth
season — but they could make it work. Wall allows Doncic to
play more off-ball, and the veteran can cut to the basket and
attack off signature Luka dimes.
In order to make the salaries work, Kristaps Porzingis would be
heading to Houston or another team who gets involved. Porzingis
hasn’t been the No. 2 option Dallas had hoped for when they went
all-in on him a few years ago. This would certainly be one way to
shake things up entirely for the Mavs. A potential starting lineup
of Doncic, Wall, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell
with Reggie Bullock as the sixth man is a fun thought.
Dallas Mavericks receive: John Wall, Usman Garuba or Alperen
Sengun, future draft compensation
Houston Rockets receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Moses Brown,
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
This is where it gets super wacky in terms of hypothetical Wall
trades. Currently, Wall’s fit with the Spurs makes no sense.
However, what about a convoluted four-team trade featuring the
Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns as well?
Here’s the entire framework of a crazy four-teamer I spitballed
in my head:
Houston Rockets receive: Ben Simmons, Isaiah Joe, Daquan
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker
IV, Jakob Poetl, Al-Farouq Aminu, multiple future first-round
Phoenix Suns receive: Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks
San Antonio Spurs receive: John Wall, Dario Saric, Jalen
Smith, Paul Reed
That’s the only way I could ever fathom Wall entering San
Antonio’s odd attempt of trying to thread the needle with competing
and tanking simultaneously. With a young combination of guards
spearheading their core, the Spurs are on pace to be a top-five
team in lottery odds at the end of next season. Also, Simmons
landing in Houston to lead its young core is a somewhat
unrealistic, insane thought to have as well.
As you can see, there will likely not be many takers on Wall. It
will be very interesting to see how this all unfolds for Wall and
Are we looking at an imminent deal for Wall, or one that lasts
all the way until the NBA trade deadline in February?