John Wall Rumors: Trade, Rockets Contract Buyout 'Unlikely' amid Interest from Teams

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

Houston Rockets' John Wall controls the ball during the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Houston. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)
Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP

A trade or contract buyout involving Houston Rockets point guard John Wall is reportedly "unlikely" as he remains sidelined via a mutual agreement with the team while awaiting a move.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday there are NBA front offices "expressing interest" in the five-time All-Star, but only if he becomes available in free agency on a more team-friendly deal than his current four-year, $171.1 million contract, which includes a player option for next season.

In late November, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wall expressed interest in returning to the Rockets' active roster, but the team's front office could only promise him a "complementary role" as it continues to focus on building for the future.

No compromise was reached, so the former Washington Wizards standout still hasn't made an appearance during the 2021-22 season.

Wall was acquired by Houston in December 2020 as part of a blockbuster deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Wizards. Westbrook has since moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 31-year-old University of Kentucky product played well for the Rockets during the second half of last season. He averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 40 games.

Houston has opted to look ahead, with a young backcourt group that includes Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Armoni Brooks and Josh Christopher, and it wouldn't make much sense for Wall to rejoin a rebuilding squad with an 11-30 record.

Yet, Wall would likely have to sacrifice a significant amount of money to secure a buyout to become a free agent. He has a little over $22 million left for the 2021-22 season, and his player option for next year checks in at a whopping $47.4 million.

Even if the Rockets were willing to compromise on the buyout amount, there's "next to no chance Wall could make that up in his next deal," per David Aldridge of The Athletic.

"It's hard for him at this point in time, when your salary doesn't equal what your production is," an NBA front-office source told Aldridge. "That's hard for him. It's hard for a lot of guys."

So Wall finds himself in a position where he'll either have to give up a lot of guaranteed money to sign a far lesser contract with a contender or play a small bench role with the Rockets. Otherwise, he could be looking at another season-and-a-half on the sideline.

There are no perfect options as his nine-month hiatus rolls on.