How much will it cost to get the deal done?
The reason why the Rockets and the Wizards haven’t pushed a deal through stems from the fact that the two teams are essentially engaged in trading the same thing to each other. Not only are John Wall and Russell Westbrook on nearly identical contracts but the projections see them as roughly the same player over the next three seasons with Westbrook playing more frequently.
John Wall Russell Westbrook
Season Win Shares Win Shares/48 Win Shares Win Shares/48
2020-21: 4.4 .078 4.6 .078
2021-22: 3.3 .058 3.5 .058
2022-23: 2.2 .038 2.4 .038
The deciding difference between the two is their likelihood for variance over the next three seasons. Russell Westbrook is much more likely to meet these projections but he is also less likely to blow them away significantly.
John Wall on the other hand, if healthy, could reasonably be expected to beat these projections by a significant margin due to his age but there is an equally high chance that his body could be too broken to even be an average player in the NBA.
The Wizards won’t want to include anything more than a few second-round picks to swap John Wall for Russell Westbrook. Westbrook would raise the Wizards floor but Wall raises their ceiling. The appeal of one over the other lies in your risk tolerance, which is why Houston shouldn’t expect a massive return.
It seems pretty clear that the Rockets will be without James Harden in the near future, which almost instantly puts them out of the playoff picture. Their risk tolerance should be much higher than the Wizards right now because, in reality, they have less to lose seeing if John Wall can regain what made him an All-NBA player.
The Wizards, on the other hand, need to make a real push for the playoffs to keep Bradley Beal in town. Westbrook reduces the risk that the Wizards are fighting for a playoff spot but does little to raise their contender status.
This deal doesn’t make much sense for either team because it does little to vault them in any meaningful direction. The Wizards won’t surrender a first-round pick to get Russell Westbrook and the Rockets shouldn’t move Westbrook unless they do. As Randy Jackson once said on American Idol, “It’s definitely a no from me, dawg.”