Report: Rockets' John Wall Exercises $47.4M Contract Option; Sides to Talk Next Steps

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 24: John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets takes practice at Toyota Center on November 24, 2021 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Houston Rockets point guard John Wall has exercised his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 NBA season, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

There's an expectation that the two sides will work on a resolution to Wall's tenure with the team, per Charania. That likely indicates his time in Houston is still coming to an end despite his contract status.

Wall arrived at the Rockets from the Washington Wizards in a December 2020 trade. He's made just 40 appearances for Houston since that deal, including none during the 2021-22 season.

He averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds across 40 games in 2020-21.

In mid-September, he reached an agreement with the front office to remain sidelined throughout the 2021-22 campaign until a trade could be found as the Rockets focused on a youth movement, per Charania.

Wall ended up sitting out all of 2021-22 while the Rockets finished 20-62.

Washington selected Wall with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. He proceeded to earn five consecutive All-Star Game selections starting in 2014 and helped guide the Wizards to the postseason four times.

The Wizards never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs during the University of Kentucky product's tenure with the franchise, however.

In November 2018, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the 31-year-old North Carolina native was fined after yelling "f--k you" at head coach Scott Brooks during a practice session. He later apologized to both Brooks and his teammates.

Although fractures had clearly started to develop within the team's foundation, it was still a bit surprising when he was dealt to Houston as part of a major trade that saw Russell Westbrook go the other way.

There were no issues during his tenure in Houston.

"He's been a rock for us," a Rockets source told ESPN's Tim MacMahon in September 2021. "He's been great since he got here."

The dynamic guard averaged 19.0 points, 9.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 573 regular-season appearances for the Wizards across nine-plus seasons.

Wall's departure from D.C. also brought an end to his effort to spend his entire career with one team, a desire he reiterated when the trade rumors first surfaced, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

"I love being here," he said in 2018.

Wall didn't have much of a choice from a financial perspective beyond exercising the option. It was worth nearly $50 million, a number he wouldn't have come close to approaching in free agency given his extended layoff.

Now the question is whether the Rockets can find a long-awaited solution to his situation, likely via contract buyout. A trade figures to remain out of reach because of the sky-high cap hit, so he'll need to sacrifice some money to hit free agency and pick a new team.

Staying in Houston is a long shot since it's not in the best interest of either side and he probably doesn't want to sit out another whole season before hitting the open market.


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