John Wall in Houston?
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Washington Wizards point guard and former Kentucky Wildcat is reportedly being discussed in a trade deal that would send him to the Houston Rockets with All-Star guard Russell Westbrook moving to the nation’s capital. A potential deal hasn’t come to life just yet, as Charania reports that Houston is searching to add more assets, but both sides are talking.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 17, 2020
By the time Wall can step back on the court again, it will be roughly two full calendar years since he has played in an NBA game (Dec. 26, 2018, against the Detroit Pistons). He still has up to three more years on his maximum contract that will pay him on average $42 million per season. Several injures over the last few years, including heel surgery, a ruptured Achilles, and a knee problem, have limited him on the court. At 30 years old, Wall is expected to sit out back-to-backs for the upcoming year and could be held to a minutes restriction.
During his last full season in 2016-17, Wall was a clear All-Star choice, posting a double-double average of 23.1 points and 10.7 assists per outing. In the two seasons prior, he recorded double-digit assists in both of them, as well. But it’s been so long since anyone has seen that version of Wall that some skeptics are cautious about his return, especially when you consider his playstyle thrived on explosiveness and speed. However, Houston is in a situation where bringing him into the fold might make sense.
It’s beginning to sound more and more likely that James Harden will find his way out of Houston, most likely forcing himself to the Brooklyn Nets, as several reports have indicated over the past couple of days. If that were to happen, moving Westbrook and embracing a full-on rebuild would be the smart route to take next for the Houston franchise.
If the Rockets can flip Westbrook to D.C. for Wall and possibly a couple of future draft picks, it allows them to acquire assets while moving on from a player that they were going to trade anyway. Westbrook is objectively a better player than Wall right now and could help the Wizards instantly contend for a playoff spot alongside rising superstar Bradley Beal. Houston could make Wall the face of the franchise for the immediate future with assets to move around for a rebuild.
A deal is obviously far from complete, but as the last 24 hours of NBA news have taught us (or the last 10 years of NBA offseasons, honestly), no trade idea is too crazy to not come true.