John Wall

Rockets Open To Trading Wall For Westbrook, Draft Assets

The Rockets, who traded Russell Westbrook to the Wizards for John Wall and a future first-round pick during the 2020 offseason, would be amenable to reacquiring Westbrook from the Lakers if the deal included “sufficient draft compensation,” Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

Stein hears from sources that Houston would want the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick (the only first-rounder L.A. can trade due to the Stepien rule) in a Wall-for-Westbrook swap, though he says it’s possible the Rockets would accept multiple second-rounders.

This report doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, Wall has been inactive and on the trade block for a half-season already and there has been no indication the Rockets will be able to find a deal that nets them any positive assets for the veteran guard.

An eventual buyout appears to be the most likely resolution for Wall and the Rockets, so acquiring a player with a virtually identical contract (Wall and Westbrook are each earning $44MM+ this season, with a $47MM+ player option for 2022/23) and getting a draft pick or two in the process would be a massive win for Houston.

It may seem odd that the Rockets would have any interest in reacquiring Westbrook, given that they’re in the midst of a rebuild and their previous union with the nine-time All-Star didn’t work out especially well. But Westbrook almost certainly wouldn’t play any more for Houston than Wall has this season — any deal would be all about the draft assets. In other words, you could substitute any player’s name for Westbrook’s in the headline of this story and it would still be true.

While it’s easy to see why the Rockets would be motivated to explore another Wall/Westbrook swap, it’s harder to justify it from the Lakers’ perspective, a fact Stein acknowledges within his report.

As awkward a fit as Westbrook has been in Los Angeles, there’s no guarantee that Wall – who has dealt with a series of leg injuries in recent years and hasn’t played in a game since last April – would be any better. L.A. would also be selling extremely low on Westbrook, who came on strong during the second half of his first and only season in Washington in 2020/21.

[RELATED: Russell Westbrook “Surprised” By Crunch-Time Benching]

If the Lakers are willing to move their 2027 first-rounder and/or multiple second-round picks, there are better deals to be made. According to Stein, the Pistons haven’t shown any interest in trading Jerami Grant for a package of Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and the Lakers’ 2027 pick, but Grant is one of the hottest names on this season’s trade market — there will be other options available for Los Angeles that don’t involve the team rolling the dice on a player (Wall) whose 2021/22 cap hit ($44.3MM) exceeds his total games played over the last three seasons (40).

Charania’s Latest: Collins, Simmons, Celtics, Pacers, Wall, Cavs

Hawks big man John Collins has grown increasingly frustrated with his role in Atlanta, multiple sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Although Collins signed a five-year, $125MM contract with the team in the offseason, his usage rate and scoring average (17.5 PPG) are the lowest they’ve been since he was a rookie in 2017/18.

According to Charania, Collins has challenged his Hawks teammates in the locker room multiple times this season, encouraging them to play team basketball. He has “felt his voice go unheard,” Charania adds.

Although Charania doesn’t explicitly state that Collins is a candidate to be traded before this year’s deadline, he notes that the Hawks are a team to watch in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes, echoing a Friday report from Marc Stein. If Atlanta is willing to make Collins available, it would certainly increase the number of trade possibilities open to the team.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Besides Atlanta, the Kings, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, and Pacers are among the clubs still in the mix for Simmons, according to Charania, who says the Sixers don’t appear any closer to moving the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up than they were prior to the season. Philadelphia hasn’t been fining Simmons, since he has been participating in training sessions and team meetings and continues to meet with mental health specialists, per Charania.
  • The Celtics have continued to convey to rival teams that they want to build around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rather than trading one of them, sources tell Charania.
  • The Pacers are having trade discussions about Myles Turner and Caris LeVert, with Turner drawing interest from the Mavericks, Knicks, Lakers, and Hornets, while the Cavaliers remain interested in LeVert, according to Charania. Rival executives tell The Athletic that Indiana values Domantas Sabonis very highly and seems less likely to move him.
  • Teams would be interested in Rockets guard John Wall if he reaches the open market, but a trade remains very unlikely and Houston still doesn’t appear to have interest in a buyout, Charania writes.
  • As the Cavaliers consider possible backcourt upgrades, building a deal around Ricky Rubio‘s expiring contract and draft assets is a possibility, says Charania.

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.

Rockets Notes: Wall, Augustin, Sengun, Simmons, Theis, Gordon

As we previously detailed, John Wall met with Rockets management on Sunday, including general manager Rafael Stone and head coach Stephen Silas. Wall informed his bosses he would like to return to the court and be a starter again. Since the Rockets would prefer to have him play a limited role off the bench, the two sides reached an impasse.

However, the situation remains fluid, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Silas said the Rockets will continue to have conversations with Wall while he works himself into game shape over the next couple weeks.

Rafael and I did meet with John (on Sunday) and he had indicated that he wants to play and work towards that so right now we’re in that phase as far as getting him back in game shape,” Silas said. “He’s been doing a lot of one-on-oh type stuff and one-on-one type stuff but nothing up and down, nothing four-on-four, five-on-five.

Right now is the ramp-up time. That’ll probably take a couple weeks. We’ll continue our conversations and try to determine what it looks like.”

Here’s more from Houston:

  • Silas said backup point guard D.J. Augustin is in the health and safety protocols, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. It’s unclear how long Augustin will be sidelined.
  • In his latest mailbag, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tackles a number of topics. He believes rookie Alperen Sengun will stay in his current bench role, especially since the Rockets have finally found some success (winning three straight after starting 1-16). He thinks Sengun will eventually get more minutes as the season progresses, but writes that Christian Wood is playing too well right now as the lone big man to disrupt his rhythm.
  • Within the same column, Iko says he doesn’t think the Rockets have any interest in Ben Simmons, but they could potentially help facilitate a deal involving multiple teams. He says Houston is committed to Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green as its backcourt of the future.
  • Iko also believes that offseason addition Daniel Theis and shooting guard Eric Gordon will be available if the price is right. Theis has fallen out of the rotation recently, but he’s a veteran with a proven defensive presence, and his contract (four years, $35MM, with $26MM guaranteed) will likely be easier to move than Gordon’s (two years, $37MM guaranteed).

John Wall Wants To Start, Rockets Disagree; Will Continue To Sit Out

November 28: Wall met with the Rockets on Sunday and informed the team he would like to be a starter again and have a chance to compete to keep a starting role, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

However, the Rockets disagreed, and want Wall to come off the bench in order to return to play. Wall will continue to sit out until the two sides find a resolution, per Charania.

After the news broke, Wall reportedly posted an Instagram video with the hashtag “#FreeMe”, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

November 27: Rockets guard John Wall has expressed a desire to return to the court and start playing again, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Wall and the franchise had mutually agreed that he would sit out until a trade was found back in September.

For a return to happen, Wall and Houston may need to compromise and solidify his role, Wojnarowski writes. At 31 years old and playing in a backcourt that consists of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green, Wall doesn’t exactly fit with Houston’s current direction.

His massive salary of $44.31MM this season and a $47.37MM player option next season also make it difficult to find a trade partner. A five-time All-Star, Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game with the Rockets last season, shooting 40% from the field.

Wall never asked to be traded this fall, but it became clear that he was no longer part of the team’s plans. He talked to general manager Rafael Stone on Friday and the two sides plan to speak again on Sunday to further discuss a potential return, according to Wojnarowski.

Rockets Notes: Wood, Mathews, Wall, Silas

After losing 15 straight games, the Rockets have now won two in a row and the turnaround started with a lineup change, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Free agent addition Daniel Theis, who had been the starting center, hasn’t played the last two games as coach Stephen Silas opted for a smaller starting lineup with Christian Wood in the middle. Wood set two career highs this week with six assists Wednesday and 33 points Saturday.

“We’re moving the ball, we’re taking open shots and we’re making shots,” Silas said after Saturday’s win over Charlotte. “How many games in a row did we shoot under 30% from three? We shot 47 (percent) tonight. Part of it is playing Armoni (Brooks) a little bit more, playing Garrison (Mathews) a little bit more. But also having some space out there so we can get our drive-and-kicks. Once a few go, you get a lot more confident about shooting your shots. Pretty confident shooting right now.”

There’s more from Houston:

  • Another part of the new lineup is Mathews, who was claimed off waivers before the start of the season and given a two-way contract, Feigen adds. With Jalen Green sidelined by a strained hamstring, Mathews made his first start Saturday and provided 20 points while going 5-of-9 from three-point range. “He’s showing up when his name is called,” Wood said. “That’s all you can ask for a guy like that. He’s shooting the ball great. I told him, whenever he sees the rim and he’s open, let it go. Same with Armoni Brooks. Whenever those two guys see it, shoot it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t try to take a dribble. Just shoot it. That’s what you’re on the floor for. That’s what you’re great at.”
  • Silas told reporters that he hasn’t talked to John Wall about his interest in starting to play again, Feigen states in a separate story. Wall spoke to general manager Rafael Stone on Friday, and another meeting is planned today. According to Feigen, it will focus on what Wall’s role might be on a team that remains committed to its young backcourt. “Being around John and him working out all the time and him being around the team and him being the competitor that he is, John just being John, of course you know that he is itching (to play),” Silas said. “As far as a conversation between he and I as far as him wanting to come back, no.”
  • Saturday’s game against the Hornets was special for Silas, who still feels a strong connection to the organization after spending 10 years there as an assistant coach, Feigen adds in another piece.

Stein’s Latest: Kings, M. Brown, Atkinson, Vogel, Wall

Before he became the controlling owner of the Kings, Vivek Ranadive was a minority stakeholder in the Warriors, and he still has a “stubborn fascination” with his old team, writes Marc Stein at Substack. According to Stein, there’s buzz in league circles that a pair of Warriors assistants – Mike Brown and Kenny Atkinson – will be among the candidates who receive consideration for the Kings’ head coaching job if the team doesn’t retain Alvin Gentry beyond this season.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest look around the league:

  • There’s “rising buzz” in NBA coaching circles that Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is facing increasing pressure with the team still sitting at .500 (10-10), says Stein. Earlier this week, we mentioned Vogel when we speculated about which head coaches could be the next to find themselves on the hot seat.
  • While John Wall may be getting a little frustrated with his situation in Houston, the veteran point guard consented to the possibility of the Rockets holding him out for the entire season. According to Stein, Wall signed off on the plan after being told he’d have a limited role in Houston’s backcourt if he were active, since the club is focused on developing young guards Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.
  • As we relayed in a full story earlier this afternoon, Stein says Mavericks officials are expressing confidence about their chances of retaining Jalen Brunson beyond the 2021/22 season.

Rockets Notes: Losing Streak, Gordon, Silas, Wall

The frustration in Houston has increased as of late, with the Rockets‘ losing streak reaching 15 games, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. The Rockets didn’t enter the season expecting to make the playoffs, but the goal was to be more competitive than they’ve been so far — the team has an NBA-worst 1-16 record.

Head coach Stephen Silas wants his club to keep its collective head up, telling reporters that when the Rockets eventually end this slide and look back on it, they’ll see the character they built by fighting to end the streak.

“We have 19-year-olds on the floor,” Silas said, per Feigen. “We have a young 21-year-old point guard (Kevin Porter Jr.) We have a second-year player (Jae’Sean Tate) playing the three. Christian Wood is still a young player. We’re looking at other teams that have gone through this, and we’re staying positive. And we’re keeping the pressure on as far as coaching the guys and making sure we’re at least attempting to do the right things as much as possible.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Eric Gordon began the season as the Rockets’ sixth man, but has started the last three games. As Feigen writes for The Houston Chronicle, head coach Stephen Silas‘ hope is that playing alongside Gordon will make it easy for rookie Jalen Green to create off the dribble. “Being out there with Eric helps him because Eric is a vet and he knows what he is trying to do and what he’s trying to get to,” Silas said of Green.
  • Feigen of The Houston Chronicle and Kelly Iko of The Athletic both recently published mailbags examining several Rockets-related topics, including how much patience the team will have with Silas. Feigen suggests Houston should give Silas “a leash that is years long, not weeks,” while Iko says he remains confident that the team’s current coach can be the one to successfully lead the multiyear rebuild.
  • Veteran point guard John Wall, who is being held out of games until the Rockets can find a trade partner, may be getting a little restless. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports notes, Wall agreed on Monday night with a tweet that said he’s “getting punished for something (he) can’t control.”

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Beal, Bridges, Heat, Hunter

Explaining the decision to sign general manager Tommy Sheppard to a contract extension, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis told Ava Wallace of The Washington Post that he believes in continuity and said the move is a reflection of Sheppard’s full body of work rather than the team’s hot start this season.

The Wizards also have an extension offer out to Bradley Beal, but it’s not a major surprise that the All-Star guard hasn’t accepted it — even if he wants to remain in D.C., Beal could sign a more lucrative contract in free agency next summer.

As Wallace relays, Leonsis believes the Wizards’ best path to locking up Beal long-term is to keep making good roster and business decisions to show the 28-year-old it’s possible to win in Washington. The Wizards owner is hopeful that Beal will follow in the footsteps of Washington Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who recently signed multiyear extensions with Leonsis’ NHL team.

“(Beal is) not obsessing over a decision; I’m not obsessing over a decision,” Leonsis said. “I think that’s correct with my belief, just like I said, with Alex Ovechkin. I have high confidence in the integrity of the player in their believing in our city, our community. Everybody was all hyper on Alex, and he signed his long-term extension. Nick did the same.

“I’m expecting that it’s not negotiating with Brad, it’s Brad sees and enjoys and likes and believes and knows that there’s something special about spending your career and going through hard times and coming out the other end a champ.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The newfound ability Miles Bridges is showing as a ball-handler and creator this season is a key reason why the Hornets forward is on track for a big payday in restricted free agency next summer, says John Hollinger of The Athletic.
  • The Heat would have interest in point guard John Wall if he’s bought out, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, but there’s no indication the Rockets intend to pursue a buyout agreement with Wall anytime soon.
  • Heat two-way player Marcus Garrett has a reputation as a defensive dynamo, but was never a major offensive threat during his four years at Kansas, averaging double-digit points just once in his college career. He’s focusing on expanding his offensive game during his time in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “I’ve been playing point, especially with the G League team,” Garrett said. “Just learning the game, getting more comfortable with the pro level game and getting comfortable with the offense.”
  • In his latest mailbag, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic explores a handful of Hawks-related topics, suggesting that De’Andre Hunter‘s ever-growing history of injuries makes him an increasingly likely candidate to be moved if Atlanta makes a consolidation trade for an impact wing or forward.

Woj: John Wall May Sit Out Entire Season

John Wall isn’t expected to play for the Rockets this season and it doesn’t appear any teams are willing to gamble on his contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on tonight’s “NBA Countdown” (hat tip to Doric Sam of Bleacher Report).

“There are no plans for John Wall to play for the Rockets, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that John Wall may not play anywhere in the NBA this season because the cost of his contract right now is just too prohibitive,” Wojnarowski said.

The 31-year-old point guard is owed nearly $91.7MM over the next two seasons, which breaks down to a $44,310,840 salary this year with a $47,366,760 player option for 2022/23. Wojnarowski suggested that the only way for Wall to engineer a trade to another team would be to turn down that option in advance.

“Any team that would potentially trade for him would want him to decline that option,” Woj said. “Well, he’s not doing that, he’s not giving that money back.”

Wall reached an agreement with the Rockets in September that he would sit out games while the team explored trade possibilities. Since that time, he has served as a de facto assistant coach, working with the team’s young players but with no intent to actually see any playing time.

Houston acquired Wall before the start of last season, sending Russell Westbrook to the Wizards and picking up a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2023. Wall was able to revive his career somewhat after missing a year and a half because of injuries. He appeared in 40 games for the Rockets and averaged 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per night.

It appears a buyout is the only way for Wall to join another team, but the amount of money he would have to give up may be too high for that to be realistic.