Wall’s Camp Declines a Buyout

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Updated: September 14, 2021
wall buyout

An official report has been published on behalf of the Houston Rockets and the future of ex-All NBA point guard John Wall. With a remaining 91 million owed in salary over the next 2 seasons, the Rocket’s front office have come to “mutual agreements” with Wall and his camp about attempting to part ways via trade this season. It has also been stated that he will be redshirting the year to preserve his value and avoid further injuries with him now two years removed from the Achilles tear he suffered in Washington. Possibly the most interesting detail that was added in the news report was that there have been no talks of possible buyouts and that both parties are committed to finding a mutually beneficial exit for Wall via the trade market.

The latter half of the report is in actuality the only piece of news being added to the John Wall in Houston equation. A translation of the information coming out of the Rocket’s front office would go something like this:

After attempts of offering Wall a modest buyout, roughly 60 cents on the dollar for his near 100 million dollars remaining, John and his camp has made it abundantly clear that he intends to get every penny owed to him  from his super-max despite the fact that his on-court production has been an equivalent to a vet-minimum contract. We in Houston are over-moon about our new flashy lottery pick in Jalen Green and have no intention of messing with his vibes by trying to accommodate a wash-pre-Madonna ex-superstar, who is clearly only impactful when dominating the basketball. We are fully aware of the ridiculous contract attached to his name and have zero faith in his ability to rehabilitate his value by playing this year. If anyone around the league is willing to send matching contracts without us in Houston needing to give up attached assets, we will provide same-day delivery to the first offer made.

Why the report is so transparent despite the formal and agreeable language provided to the media, is the idea that Wall is “now available,” implies that at any time last year or this offseason that Houston had any sort of plan for his involvement long term with the franchise. Early last year, they may have had some hopes that there was a shot in the dark that he would be an okay piece as a consolation prize to the exit of James Harden considering Wall came with compensation when he was exchanged for Russel Westbrook. But after only playing 40 games this season and averaging career lows in all percentages across the board, if a trade had been offered to the Rockets, Wall would already be wearing another team’s uniform.

However, the John Wall contract was believed to be unmovable and the worst contract in the NBA when he was still in the nation’s capital as a Wizard. The only reason the asset was moved, was because of the unforeseen Houston rebuild in the wakes of the James Harden trade demands, resulting in them desperately trying to recover any sort of value from the Westbrook/CP3 exchange. The only reason either of those players was traded at that moment was because they were traded for each other.

John Wall has a player option next year for 47 million dollars. It isn’t a real number; it is a mythical amount of money that only makes sense when attached to generational-level talents like Giannis or Curry. Not only is it an abundance of capital for ownership to spend on a player who so clearly is not the talent he was when he signed his current contract, but the number also takes up such a substantial amount of the team’s salary cap it completely handicaps the type of moves a franchise has available to it.

No matter how long one is willing to sit and ponder the possibilities in the trade machine, there are zero mutually beneficial trades available that do not include an attached 1st round pick from Houston going out with the John Wall contract. There have been talks about the LA Clippers trading for Wall with some sort of Eric Bledsoe package, but he only makes 18 million this season. In order to bridge the gap of the 26 million between the two contracts, the Clippers would need to add 3-4 players from their rotation including Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka, and Ivica Zubac. One could argue that all 3 or 4 players that would need to be included in the exchange not only are better assets but have more positive on-court impact than the 31-year-old ball-dominant point guard in Wall. So why exactly would the Clippers be interested in such an exchange? The short answer is, they aren’t.

The only realistic way Wall is getting out of Houston is the same way all terrible contracts get washed and converted back into respectable currency these days and that’s through Oklahoma City. However, based on their rates for absorbing shit contracts, it would take at least 2 first-round picks attached for their services. Considering Houston has no projections to be even a playoff team the next two years, sending future firsts or even a stack of seconds to save cash would be suicidal to their future from an asset standpoint. The best thing they can do, is what they have already done, send Wall home with his bag and let the contract expire organically. Maybe next year he’ll get itchy feet and he will take a 5-10 million dollar cut for a buyout to join a contender. Until then though, the idea he’s going to be traded is a myth trying to manifest itself into a reality that simply does not exist.

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