The Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards made a blockbuster trade before the 2020-21 season. Five-time All-Star John Wall was sent from the Wizards to the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook after the 2016-17 MVP requested a trade from Houston.
Wall, who missed the entire 2019-20 season recovering from an Achilles tear, was excited to get a fresh start with the Rockets and play with James Harden, Christian Wood, and DeMarcus Cousins. However, that level of excitement didn’t last long.
On January 13, the Rockets traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets after the Beard told the media in Houston the team wasn’t good enough to compete for a title. Nearly a month later, the Rockets waived Cousins, one of Wall’s closest friends in the NBA.
After the Harden trade, Wall said the Rockets were his team, and he was looking forward to leading the franchise. However, that statement has come back to haunt the 2010 No. 1 overall pick.
The Rockets have been awful since the James Harden trade
The Rockets turned into a walking disaster after trading Harden to the Nets. Not only did they fail miserably by not getting Caris LeVert or Jarrett Allen in the deal, but they lost 20 games in a row at one point.
Wall signed a four-year, $171 million contract extension with the Wizards in the summer of 2017. He’s making $41.3 million this season and is owed $44.3 million in 2021-22. The North Carolina native has a player option worth $47.4 million for the 2022-23 season.
Since he’s an aging player with a ton of money left on his contract, Wall doesn’t fit the Rockets’ future. The team is in rebuild mode and has no use for a guard who is better suited to start for a playoff team.
That’s why the Wall news that recently hit the grapevine didn’t shock anyone in the league.
John Wall won’t play again this season
According to NBA insider Shams Charania, Wall’s 2020-21 season is over. He’s dealing with a hamstring injury, and the Rockets have decided to shut him down since they have already been eliminated from the playoffs.
Wall appeared in 40 games this season. He averaged 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists while shooting 40.4% from the field, 31.7% from beyond the arc, and 74.9% from the free-throw line. The Rockets went 12-28 with the 30-year-old in the lineup.
The Wizards won the Wall-Westbrook trade by a mile. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, and Washington is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings. If the season ended today, the Wizards would be in the play-in tournament.
The Rockets are embracing the youth movement in the post-Harden era and building around Wood, Kevin Porter Jr., and Jae’Sean Tate. With that being said, Wall may have played his final game with Houston.
Wall could be traded or released this offseason
All signs point toward Wall being traded or released this offseason. It doesn’t make sense to waste his talent on a rebuilding team at this stage of his career.
Wall put up All-Star numbers this season, so he may have increased his trade value around the NBA. Teams in need of a starting point guard will speak with the Rockets this offseason about a possible deal involving the former Wizards star if his medicals are good.
It will be fascinating to see where Wall plays in 2021-22. His days in Houston, though, appear to be over.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.