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John Wall Rumors: Rockets Exit 'Gaining Momentum'; Buyout More Likely Than Trade

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are likely to trade or reach a buyout agreement with point guard John Wall before the June 30 start to the free-agency period.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported a resolution to the situation is "gaining momentum" as Wall seeks a new home.

Wall opted in to his $47.4 million salary for next season last week, a no-brainer move that all parties expected. The five-time All-Star did not play during the 2021-22 season as the Rockets tried and failed to find a trade partner while building around their young backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.

With Wall on an expiring contract, it could be easier for the Rockets to find a potential trade partner—though few teams are capable of taking on his salary. The Los Angeles Lakers were regularly rumored as a potential suitor as part of a Wall-for-Russell Westbrook trade, but that appears unlikely.

The most likely scenario is that Wall takes a pay cut from his $47.4 million salary and gives Houston some financial relief in exchange for the opportunity to hit the open market. The non-taxpayer mid-level exception is projected to be at $10.3 million for next season; Wall could give up around that much in buyout talks and then recoup his money with a new team.

The taxpayer mid-level is projected at $6.3 million.

Wall has played just 72 games over the last four seasons, so it's unlikely he'd get much more than a mid-level deal on the open market. He averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 40 games with the Rockets in 2020-21.

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