The Houston Rockets have fallen from a franchise aiming to compete for an NBA title to embracing a complete rebuild. The Rockets attempted to move off that path by acquiring John Wall but instead led to a roster youth movement. Houston now has to deal with fixing its embarrassing $132 million mistake before next season.
Rockets acquired John Wall hoping to pair him with James Harden
After only one season, the Rockets abruptly ended Russell Westbrook’s tenure through a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards to acquire John Wall.
Houston hoped his arrival would help stabilize the backcourt alongside former league MVP James Harden. However, the situation quickly took a left turn as Harden forced his way out, leading to a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
Meanwhile, the Rockets took on Wall’s remaining three years of his contract, valued at roughly $132.8 million. Houston attempted to move forward with the former All-Star guard as the franchise centerpiece, but the experiment has fizzled out.
It’s led the franchise to face reality with its embarrassing mistake.
The Houston Rockets have embarrassingly given up on their foolish $132 million gamble with John Wall
As the Rockets work toward rebuilding the team, the future plans won’t include Wall.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that a meeting between the star guard and management reached a mutual agreement to find him a new NBA home.
The Rockets are not working toward a buyout plan with the former All-Star as he holds $91.7 million remaining on his contract. It includes a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season. It puts the front office in the tough spot of finding a team willing to take on his massive remaining contract that features a $44.3 million salary for the upcoming campaign.
Wall is coming off a tough first year in Houston, where his health remained a prominent issue as he played in only 40 games, averaging 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds. The nagging leg injuries place significant doubt that he can remain on the court while performing at an All-Star level.
The Rockets hoped Wall could lead the Rockets’ youthful roster, but his desire to make the most of his prime years likely drove him to want a change of scenery. Meanwhile, Houston will roll forward with their young team led by 2021 second overall pick Jalen Green, big man Christian Wood, and Kevin Porter Jr.
Nonetheless, it was an inevitable fate that the Rockets were barrelling toward upon trading for a player coming off two serious injuries.
Houston hold tough trade path ahead
Although the start of the 2021-22 season is more than a month away, it puts the Rockets up against the clock.
Houston has already prepared for the difficult path ahead as the two sides agreed that he won’t have to attend training camp or play in any games this year. The question becomes how many teams will express serious interest in the oft-injured point guard with more than $91 million left on his contract.
When healthy, Wall is a proven scoring factor with an ability to get to the rim. The 31-year-old can effectively step in as a viable second or third scoring option. His new landing spot will require him to take a less prominent offensive role due to his injury history and skill set.
Wall may also have to be willing to play for a team that isn’t in the championship picture, as his massive remaining contract requires a hefty financial commitment. Ultimately, time will what the Rockets can fetch for him in a trade.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.