Reactions To John Wall, Russell Westbrook Trade

Just when it seemed like the NBA offseason was winding down, the Rockets and Wizards made a big splash on Wednesday night, swapping star point guards. Russell Westbrook headed to Washington in the blockbuster deal in exchange for John Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick.

While word of the trade agreement came as something of a surprise when it broke last night, it makes perfect sense in at least one respect: Westbrook’s and Wall’s oversized contracts didn’t appeal to most teams around the NBA, so trading them for one another was the logical move.

“The trade seemed inevitable,” one Eastern Conference executive told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “Two players at similar stages of their careers and both having demanded a change of scenery. Brooks gets a force of nature with whom he is well versed. Houston gets a much needed first-round pick as they inch toward a rebuild.”

Another Eastern exec who spoke to Scotto suggested that the Wizards are “for sure” a playoff team after adding Westbrook, while a scout told HoopsHype that he’s bullish on Westbrook in D.C. since head coach Scott Brooks “knows how to use him.” However, not everyone who spoke to Scotto loved the trade for the Wizards.

“Two of the worst contracts flipped for each other should tell you something,” a Western Conference GM told HoopsHype. “Did you see Russ play last year? He slowed down (James) Harden. I feel bad for Beal.”

Here are more reactions to – and analyses of – one of the biggest trades of the 2020 offseason:

  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post (Twitter link) hears that D.C. was Westbrook’s preferred destination, and that the former MVP is intrigued by the opportunity to team up with Bradley Beal and to play again for Brooks, his former coach in Oklahoma City.
  • The Rockets remain in win-now mode and “wouldn’t accept” trading Westbrook away for a package that signaled a full-scale rebuild, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko adds that initial talks between the two teams stalled because they were haggling over draft capital and the possible inclusion of another young player – such as Thomas Bryant – in a deal. Houston and Washington ultimately kept it simple, just adding a single first-round pick to the Westbrook/Wall swap.
  • Kurt Helin of NBC Sports poses five big questions related to the trade, including how much Wall has left in the tank after missing nearly two full years due to injury.
  • The trade is the right move for the Wizards, but it’s packed with risk, Ben Golliver writes for The Washington Post. Elsewhere at The Washington Post, Jerry Brewer bids farewell to Wall, writing that the former No. 1 pick’s exit “seems both premature and overdue.”
  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis had to make a choice between Wall and Beal and ultimately decided to stick with Beal, says David Aldridge of The Athletic. “At the end of the day, this is a Ted call,” a source told Aldridge.
  • The Westbrook/Wall swap is a sign of how the two point guards are valued in today’s NBA, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, who says “the teams that matter aren’t the least bit concerned by this move.”
  • Having covered Westbrook in Oklahoma City, Fred Katz of The Athletic tells Wizards fans what they can expect from their new point guard.
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26 thoughts on “Reactions To John Wall, Russell Westbrook Trade

  1. Sillivan

    IMO
    Fair trade would be Westbrook for Wolves and two lottery protected Future Firsts

      • The Howler

        If Wall and Westbrook perform to type (a big if for Wall) a 1st round pick in the bottom 3rd of the 1st round would be fair compensation using win shares. If Wall production drops by 25% I would agree with you and 2 picks would be fair.

  2. I'm a starboy not a Dr...

    Beal is either gonna want out or want Westbrick to be out…I don’t see this working.

    • Marty McRae

      Can see this happening too. GSW might move onto Beal and/or Harden if Giannis goes long term with Bucks, they already checked in on Harden according to this site.

  3. raz427

    I haven’t recalled a calendar year for a team that went thru an insane roster change, since Kobe and Shaq in 04. Capella, Covington, now Westbrook. Westbrook > Wall even if Wall is healthy. The key here is how Wall will have to deal with elite or above average PG’s in the western conference. Just to name a few in the West. Curry/CP3/Dame/SGA/Murray/Fox/etc. Can a guy who hasn’t played meaningful contact in live games since 2018, hold his own against these guys? I had Houston as the 8th seed prior to this deal. Honestly now there is too many what if’s on this team: What if Boogie stays healthy/ What if Wall returns to form/ What if wood stays the course after getting paid? There is too many questions and not enough answers for me. I have a team like Memphis that isn’t flashy by any means, get in as the 8th seed now. Long lengthy front court and a superstar in the making with Ja.

      • tward09

        If they are lucky enough to make it, they won’t make it past their first opponent

        • Otogar

          I would say Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets and Jazz are a lock. I really cannot see the Mavericks or Blazers missing the PO either. That leaves 2 spots for those 4 teams.

          • Otogar

            Correction: 5 teams, adding the Rockets. I would say The Pelicans don’t get even to the play-in tournament.

      • x%sure

        DEN, DAL, LAL, LAC, UTA, MEM tier one
        HOU, MIN, PHX, POR tier two play-in
        GSW, NOP, OKC, SAS, SAC tier three

  4. Wizards must have lost all faith in Wall to trade him and a draft pick for another large contract.

  5. jump shot

    Not sure who’s call it was to hold him out but physically and health-wise, Wall was ready to play LAST season. He actually looked great!
    He’ll be fine this season… a starter and playing starter minutes. Numbers? We’ll see! But he’s definitely healthy and ready to play.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Holding him out triggers the insurance payment. Wizards didn’t pay his salary last season.

      • jump shot

        Makes sense, because he was definitely ready.
        I’ll use 20, 5, and 5 (or 30 in whatever combination) as a baseline for him this season.

  6. Sillivan

    Before the trade
    Vegas betting line wins totals
    Rockets 35.5
    Grizzlies 31.5
    Kings 28.5
    Wolves 27.5

    • Marty McRae

      Wall hasn’t played significant minutes since 2016, I think it boils down to even if Wall doesn’t play a minute with Harden, its that Harden + “not-Russ” is better than Harden + Russ, is what Harden is thinking here.

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Rockets if Harden stays will fight for 6th seed. I think only six teams go in this yr. then there is a play in again for 7 n 8. I read that somewhere. Plus I really doubt Harden stays this yr. I think he’s gone by TD. So Rockets could miss playoffs.

    Whaaaaaaatttt ???? How do you slow down a ball stopper like Harden. Unreal

    Western Conference GM told HoopsHype. “Did you see Russ play last year? He slowed down (James) Harden.
    Love to know who said this. Cause I believe the opposite to be true. You remember this guy when season is in play. Westbrook is going to have a big yr. So is Beal and Wizards.

    • The Howler

      No significant statistical difference between 19-20 Harden and 18-19 Harden. Westbrook had his most efficient year (e.g., eFG%) of his career last year. Having said that, Westbrook is still below average in his efficiency but makes up for it in other ways.

  8. siggers84

    I think Wizards are probably favourite for the 8th now above Atl, Orl, Cha but who knows what can happen in play in tournament.

    Houston still looking pretty good. Between 5-7 seed.

  9. halos2017

    Harden is a joke. CP3, Westbrook and now Wall? Maybe Harden should be the one to be traded.

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