Rockets Notes: Wall, Mathews, Green, Augustin

The Rockets and John Wall are still trying to figure out the next steps in his possible return to the court, but David Aldridge of The Athletic believes that Wall needs to maximize his window of opportunity and accept any role the club is offering.

Aldridge acknowledges that coming off the bench for a Rockets team that has struggled to win games (currently 5-16) would be very difficult for a competitor like Wall, but he thinks the only way for the point guard to show his value to other teams is by proving his effectiveness on the court — no matter the minutes.

Other teams are still interested in Wall as a player, but not with the enormous amount of money remaining on his contract ($44.31MM this season and a $47.37MM player option next season).

He’s still really good,” a GM texted Aldridge. “Just not at the number he currently makes.”

Aldridge thinks the trade market for Wall could develop in the summer of 2022, once he picks up his player option. A huge expiring contract could create cap flexibility in the summer of 2023 for a team looking to pursue free top agents.

Aldridge writes that Wall should look at Derrick Rose‘s path in order to revive his career. Both players were extremely athletic and unfortunately derailed by injuries, but after bouncing around for a few seasons on minimum deals, Rose was able to rebuild contractual value by becoming a more efficient scorer off the bench. The Knicks re-signed Rose to a three-year, $43.5MM ($28MM guaranteed) contract last summer.

It’s an interesting piece and worth checking out in full for any Athletic subscribers — Aldridge knows Wall very well and covered him for years in Washington.

Here’s more from Houston:

  • Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle explores shooting guard Garrison Mathews‘ journey to the NBA. The Tennessee native has averaged 16.3 PPG and 3.0 RPG on .568/.516/.778 shooting during Houston’s four-game winning streak.
  • Number two overall pick Jalen Green may be sidelined at the moment, but if he’s been paying attention, it’s still an opportunity to learn and grow as a player, as Jerome Solomon of The Houston Chronicle details. The Rockets haven’t lost a game since Green was injured a week ago, so he’s been able to watch what it takes to win at the NBA level.
  • Backup point guard D.J. Augustin has been cleared to play Friday night against the Magic, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. Augustin had been in the league’s health and safety protocols after COVID-19 a test came back inconclusive. Augustin is fully vaccinated, but his daughter contracted the virus and he was a close contact. Feigen writes that Augustin produced two negative tests 24 hours apart and thus was cleared to return.
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