The Rockets reportedly intend to hold John Wall out of games until they can find a new home for him, which suggests the team is hopeful that there’s a deal to be made in the not-so-distant future. However, a number of NBA reporters aren’t so sure that the Wall situation will be resolved anytime soon.
Appearing on ESPN (video link; hat tip to Clutch Points), Adrian Wojnarowski said he believes trading Wall will be “almost impossible” unless Houston is willing to attach multiple first-round picks, which the team has resisted thus far. Wojnarowski adds that he thinks Wall will be in Houston for “a while” unless the point guard becomes receptive to giving up a significant amount of salary in a buyout.
On the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe also expressed skepticism that there’s a deal out there for Wall and his oversized contract (two years, $91.7MM). Lowe told fellow ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon that he expects we’ll be waiting a long time for a resolution, with an eventual buyout representing the most likely outcome.
“I think it’s, ‘Hurry up and wait until next summer,'” MacMahon responded, per RealGM. “I think that’s what ends up happening.”
These reports are hardly surprising. Wall’s $44.3MM cap hit for the 2021/22 season is difficult to match for most teams, especially since newly-signed contracts can’t be moved right away in trades. And the clubs that are in position to package two or three players to match Wall’s salary may not want to give up those players for a former All-Star who has been slowed by injuries in recent years and didn’t look quite like his old self in 2020/21.
If the situation does drag out for months, it will be interesting to see whether the Rockets reconsider their stance of having Wall sit out games for the entire 2021/22 season. While that may be the safe approach to keep him healthy, the 31-year-old could perhaps boost his trade value a little if he returns to the court and proves he can still be productive.