Lakers Rumors: Westbrook for John Wall Trade Interests Rockets If 'Incentivized'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 21, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 13: John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets warms up before the game against the Atlanta Hawks on December 13, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets would be interested in trading point guard John Wall for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook if the deal was "incentivized," according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein (h/t RealGM). 

More specifically, Stein reported the Rockets would look for "sufficient draft compensation" to take back Westbrook, who played for Houston during the 2019-20 season.

The Rockets traded Westbrook to the Wizards for Wall and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick in Dec. 2020. 

Washington dealt Westbrook to the Lakers last July. He has struggled in his first year in L.A., posting a career-low 15.2 player efficiency rating, per Basketball Reference. 

Wall and the rebuilding Rockets agreed that he would not play for Houston this season as the team worked on finding him a new home, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic in September.

Stein noted that the hypothetical Rockets-Lakers deal is "unlikely" to happen between now and the Feb. 10 trade deadline.

The Lakers are at a significant crossroads. A season that started with championship aspirations has resulted in the team going 22-23 through 45 games (1-4 last five).

Lakers forward LeBron James is playing at an MVP level, but the rest of the team has largely been inconsistent. Anthony Davis has also missed the past month with a sprained left MCL.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported on NBA Today that the Lakers were in a "tough spot" to make any moves before the trade deadline and that improvement would likely "have to come from within." Ultimately, the healthy return of Davis should be the Lakers' biggest midseason addition.

As for the Rockets, the young group has shown promise and fight through 46 games, although the team sits last in the Western Conference with a 14-32 record. Still, building blocks such as Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun bring about great hope for the future.

Regarding the veterans, Wall has a player option for $47,366,760 in the 2022-23 season. If he takes it, he'll be a free agent in the summer of 2023. Westbrook also has a 2022-23 player option ($47,063,478).

Both could use a change of scenery for different reasons, but their contracts make it difficult for any moves to happen.

Westbrook is a nine-time All-Star and nine-time All-NBA team member who won the 2016-17 NBA MVP award. Wall is a five-time All-Star who earned All-NBA honors in 2016-17.