John Wall Trade Rumors: Pacers Expressed Interest to Rockets Before Haliburton Trade

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 13:  John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets reacts prior to tip-off against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on December 13, 2021 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.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The Indiana Pacers altered the future of their franchise by acquiring Tyrese Haliburton from the Sacramento Kings in a trade that sent Domantas Sabonis away, but they were reportedly interested in John Wall before completing that deal.

That is according to NBA insider Marc Stein, who reported Indiana expressed interest in perhaps landing Wall in a trade with Houston before shifting directions to the younger Haliburton.

Stein also noted the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat "are the two teams cited most frequently as potential destinations whenever the prospect of John Wall finally securing his exit from Houston and finding his way onto the open market comes up."

Wall has a player option for $47.4 million for the 2022-23 campaign, and it isn't a stretch to suggest he will opt into it.

After all, he hasn't played an NBA game since April 2021, sat out all of 2019-20 and hasn't played more than 41 games in a single season since the 2016-17 one. It is difficult to envision him getting anywhere near that type of money for 2022-23 on the open market even if he does have an impressive overall resume to fall back on from his prime.

Wall was the franchise cornerstone for the Washington Wizards after they selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft. He made five consecutive All-Star teams from 2013-14 through 2017-18 and consistently blew past defenders in the open court, played effective defense and led the team to the playoffs in four of those five years.

Yet injuries have limited the Kentucky product since then, and there is no guarantee he will return to that form with his 32nd birthday approaching in September.

From Indiana's perspective, acquiring an expiring contract like Wall's could have set it up for future additions. Similar arguments can be made about why the Pacers have been connected to Russell Westbrook at times as well.

Perhaps a trade for either veteran point guard could help the franchise shed some long-term salaries, acquire a draft pick and further reset for a future of building around the 22-year-old Haliburton.

But Wall likely wouldn't be expected to lead them into legitimate contention in the Eastern Conference.