2:42pm: The Rockets don’t want to give up any first-round picks in a Wall trade, according to MacMahon. Realistically, the only way for Houston to avoid attaching a first-rounder would be to take back one or two unwanted contracts in the deal.
MacMahon adds that the Rockets wouldn’t want to engage in buyout talks until possibly the 2022 offseason.
12:31pm: The Rockets and John Wall have agreed to work together to try to find a new home for the veteran point guard, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Wall didn’t explicitly ask to be traded, but he isn’t part of Houston’s long-term plans, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston.
As Charania explains, the Rockets’ intention is for Wall to remain around the team, starting with training camp in two weeks, but he won’t play in games for Houston this season.
In a recent meeting between the two sides, team officials explained to Wall that they want to protect his health and avoid jeopardizing his fitness, which led them to agree to this plan, according to Charania, who adds that the club and the 31-year-old see “eye-to-eye” on the issue. As long as he remains around the team, the Rockets believe Wall’s veteran leadership will have a positive impact on youngsters like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).
Sources tell Charania that the Rockets aren’t looking to negotiate a buyout of the two years and $91.7MM left on Wall’s contract, and are focused for now on finding a deal on the trade market. Given Wall’s pricey cap hits ($44.3MM this season, with a $47.4MM player option for 2022/23) and his injury history, he has negative trade value, so Houston would almost certainly have to attach assets to find a taker.
It’s unclear how much appetite the rebuilding Rockets will have to surrender future draft picks in order to move Wall. Even though they landed several first-rounders and pick swaps in last season’s James Harden trade, they don’t have a huge surplus of future selections, having previously sent out a pair of future first-rounders in their deal for Russell Westbrook.
Wall’s trade value should at least be a little higher than it was a year ago, when he was coming off a 2019/20 season fully lost to an Achilles injury. In 2020/21, he appeared in 40 games for the Rockets (32.2 MPG), averaging 20.6 PPG, 6.9 APG, and 3.2 RPG, albeit with a modest .404/.317/.749 shooting line.
As they explore their trade options for Wall, the Rockets will have to lean more heavily on Porter and D.J. Augustin. Charania indicates the team has also held discussions with free agent point guards in recent days, suggesting another player could be added to the mix at the position.
The Rockets currently have a full 20-man offseason roster, but only 14 of those players are on fully guaranteed standard contracts, so they could open up the final spot on their 15-man regular season roster for a point guard, if they so choose.