With the Houston Rockets fully embracing a rebuild, and five-time NBA All-Star John Wall looking to play for a contender, a divorce between the two sides seemed inevitable. So with training camp set to begin at the end of the month, now comes the news that the Rockets will keep Wall on the bench indefinitely until they’re able to help him find a new team. Because you ain’t gotta go home, but you gotta get the hell up outta here.
From The Athletic:
The plan is for Wall to remain present around the Rockets entering training camp, which begins late this month, and to not play in games for Houston this season, sources said. Wall is entering his second year in Houston after spending most of his career with Washington.
In a meeting between Wall and the Rockets recently, Houston officials explained to Wall the direction of the franchise and that the team wants to protect the veteran guard’s health. The Rockets explained that the team does not want to jeopardize Wall’s fitness, and the sides agreed on the route that won’t complicate his ability to continue playing at a high level.
While an amicable split sounds all well and good, in practice, it will be anything but easy. Heel and Achilles have robbed Wall of his effectiveness and signature explosiveness—as evidenced by his true shooting percentage and player efficiency rating plummeting to near career lows this past season. There’s also the fact that he’s due $91.7 million—yes, you read that correctly—over the next two seasons and will have the third-highest salary in the entire league this year. That price tag is worth gambling on when you’re a waning superstar at the fringes of your prime (i.e. Chris Paul), but when you’re years removed from your best days and still present a significant injury risk, it’s the type of kiss of death that costs coaches and front office executives their jobs.
Despite all of this, Wall allegedly still has suitors. Per Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and Detroit Pistons have expressed interest in acquiring the former Washington Wizard.
“The Rockets have been fielding offers for John Wall, including from the Clippers, Heat and Pistons, per sources,” Lawrence tweeted. “After taking a major PR hit for the James Harden trade, the Rockets aren’t rushing into any deal. One Houston exec: ‘We have to win this trade.’”
While I find it extremely unlikely that any of the above franchises would be foolish enough to trade for Wall outright, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he landed with one of them if he’s able to negotiate a buyout with Houston. I also tried to warn the Rockets about trading for Wall in the first place once upon a time, but this is what happens when people don’t listen to me.
I’d hate for Houston to begin training camp with a disgruntled star player on their roster for a second consecutive season and wholeheartedly believe that head coach Stephen Silas deserves better. Just don’t trade that dude to the Orlando Magic.
Please and thanks in advance.