John Wall ended up sitting out the entire 2021/22 season, as the Rockets‘ front office was unable to find a trade it liked involving the veteran point guard. However, general manager Rafael Stone is confident that won’t be the case again in 2022/23 as Wall enters the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $47MM next season.
“I think there’s a real market for John,” Stone said on Monday, per Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press. “I think we’ll find a deal that will work for him and for us, and if one doesn’t materialize, we’ll we’ll cross that bridge (of a possible buyout) if and when it occurs. But that that is not something he’s focused on, and is not something I’m focused on.”
While it’s possible there could be a small handful of teams interested in discussing a deal for Wall, the Rockets will be hard-pressed to get anything of value for him — even with just one year left on his contract, the 31-year-old has negative trade value due to his exorbitant cap hit.
Here’s more on the Rockets:
- Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr., who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, admitted he was thinking about his contract situation earlier in the 2021/22 season and believes it negatively impacted his play, as Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle relays. “At the beginning of the season, I kind of put too much pressure on myself thinking about that type of thing,” Porter said. “Once I eased my mind off of it, I started to play better. So I don’t really want to put no mind to it. I love Houston, and they love me, so I’m sure that I’ll be here for a minute.”
- The Rockets posted an NBA-worst record of 20-62 in 2021/22, but both Stone and head coach Stephen Silas believe the team’s young players improved over the course of the year. Although Silas acknowledged that Houston will still have a young team next season and won’t become a contender overnight, he suggested on Monday that his expectations will be higher. “We really started at zero this year with a lot of guys,” Silas said, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “So getting to the point where we played an 82-game season with these guys and their roles will be similar next year … we’ll still be starting at a much higher place than we were this season as far as understanding. (The Rockets will not be) so bland on both ends of the floor because there’ll be a much higher level of understanding when it comes to the young guys.”
- In a separate story for The Houston Chronicle, Feigen explores a number of offseason questions facing the Rockets, including whether Porter will be extended, what the team will do in the draft, and what will happen with Wall and some other veteran trade candidates on the roster. Feigen adds that Houston intends to bring back Silas for 2022/23, though he and the front office will have to be sure they remain on the same page with the rebuilding plan going forward.