3 uncomfortable conversations the Houston Rockets don’t want to have
Houston Rockets uncomfortable conversation #2: What to do about John Wall
No matter where you look, the fallout from the Russell Westbrook trade looms over the Rockets’ franchise and John Wall is no exception. The only reason Wall is a Rocket is because his contract is almost identical to Westbrook’s and while the Rockets landed a first-round pick, it can at best become the ninth pick in the 2026 NBA draft.
The Rockets need to have an uncomfortable conversation about what to do with John Wall. It isn’t that Wall is a bad player but, as it currently stands, he is the fourth-highest paid player in the league this season, the second-highest next season, and the highest-paid player in 2022-23.
If John Wall were a top-20 player in the league his contract would be palatable but right now he is just an average player with a massive usage-rate. The Rockets will be hard-pressed to trade him which means they’re left with two options.
The first option is to buy him out from his contract and spread the salary cap hit over multiple seasons. The second option is to let him play his contract down and hope he shows enough that he can be moved for a small return in the last years of his deal.
What makes this conversation so difficult is that whatever option the Rockets take it’ll dictate how their rebuild will unfold. If they buy him out they’ll have more initial cap space but it’ll be a long-term burden and if they let him play out his deal they’ll have less cap space in the immediate future.
There is no good option with John Wall but the Rockets need to figure out which route will lead to the fastest rebuild. Wall has been better than Westbrook, which is a small win for the franchise, but moving on from him entirely is a conversation that has to be had.
Next: Uncomfortable Conversation #1