While there likely will be not major moves during the NBA Finals, expect there to be a bit of a trading frenzy once the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks are done battling it out to win a championship – Game 4 is Tuesday night in Milwaukee with the Bucks as 4-point favorites on the NBA odds to even things up. One big name already being bandied about as a trade possibility is former All-Star guard John Wall, now of the Houston Rockets.
NBA | What will become of John Wall’s Future?
Wall was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Rockets last December on the eve of this past regular season for Russell Westbrook. The Wizards also sent a lottery-protected 2023 first-round NBA draft pick. The 2023 pick is lottery protected for the Wizards. If it doesn’t convey in that year, it has a succession of protections that include picks Nos. 1-12 in 2024, picks 1-10 in 2025 and picks 1-8 in 2026, sources said. If it hasn’t conveyed as a first-round pick to Houston by 2026, it becomes a second-round pick in each of 2026 and 2027.
No question Washington won that trade at least for now as Westbrook averaged another triple-double this season and helped the Wizards reached the playoffs. Wall, meanwhile, had a solid season in Houston, averaging 20.6 points and 6.9 assists but the team was terrible. He had at least seven assists in 12 of his final 15 games played (8.3 apg) after doing so 10 times his first 25 games played (6.0 apg). Wall joined Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history with career averages of at least 19.0 ppg, 9.0 apg and 4.0 rpg.
However, amongst all players this past season who attempted at least 700 field goals, John Wall’s 40.4% clip from the field was 3rd worst in the entire NBA. Wall missed two games due to health & safety protocols (12/26-12/28), five games with left knee soreness (1/14-1/22), five games with left Achilles injury recovery (2/3; 2/8; 4/9; 4/18; 4/24), five games (3/11-3/17) with a left knee contusion, four games (3/31-4/5) with left knee effusion and 10 games (4/27-5/14) with a right hamstring strain.
Wall will be 31 this September and doesn’t really fit on the rebuilding Rockets, who also have the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.
One issue, though, is not too many teams can take on Wall’s huge contract. The Rockets owe Wall $43 million for the 2021-22 campaign and are then on the hook for $47 million for 2022-2023. One rumored team with interest is the New York Knicks.
New York only has $54.8 million on the books right now for the upcoming season, with the cap scheduled to be $109 million, so they would have the room to absorb Wall’s massive contract hit.
The Los Angeles Lakers are another potential destination. As a lightning-quick slasher and playmaker, Wall would be the perfect complement to LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the point guard spot.
The Los Angeles Clippers are expected to be more aggressive in upgrading their roster around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the 2021 offseason. One potential trade being bandied about is L.A. sending a package that includes Marcus Morris, Rajon Rondo, Luke Kennard, and Patrick Beverley to the Rockets in exchange for Wall and the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2023 first-round pick.
The Boston Celtics already traded former All-Star point guard Kemba Walker this offseason to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Could Wall replace Walker in Boston?
How about Wall to Cleveland for Kevin Love? The Miami Heat also have some interest in both Wall and teammate Eric Gordon. The Rockets are known to covet young Miami guard Tyler Herro and tried to get him at the trade deadline this season but Miami resisted. After the Heat flamed out in the playoffs, they might be ready to deal Herro. Either Wall or Gordon would be an upgrade from Herro, though Herro is only 21 and dealt with injuries this year after a solid rookie campaign.
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