When the Houston Rockets acquired John Wall from the Washington Wizards, it was perceived as a move that would appeal to James Harden, as Harden reportedly preferred Wall over Russell Westbrook. Questions existed regarding exactly how much Wall would be able to contribute physically, as the former All-Star and All-NBA guard had missed two full years due to injuries.
Shortly after the season started, it became clear that Harden wasn’t exactly swayed by the addition of Wall, as he didn’t show up to training camp on time, opting to instead attend a party in Atlanta with rapper Lil’ Baby. Harden eventually forced his way out of town after saying that the Rockets simply weren’t good enough to be a contender, which was perceived as a slight against Wall.
The Rockets’ season has gone down the drain, which many attribute to Harden, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. But in spite of a 11-23 record and a 13-game losing streak the Rockets have gotten great play from Wall.
Wall has averaged 21 points per game, the second-best mark of his career, while making 34 percent of his 3-pointers, which is also the third-best clip of his career, on six attempts per game (career-high). Wall is also averaging 6 assists per game, along with 3.2 rebounds, and has posted the second-fewest turnovers of his career (3.3).
In short, Wall has very much looked like the player he was before the injuries, and his leadership has been paramount in a horrid season in which it’s been questioned whether the team will win again. Wall’s play has gotten noticed around the league, as Truehoop’s Tom Haberstroh reported that the Miami Heat have interest in the Houston Rockets guard.
“If the Heat decide to make a deal, rival executives wonder if a package centered on Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Rising Star rookie Precious Achiuwa could net another star. Heat brass have shrewdly signed Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard to mid-tier contracts ($12.6 and $9.4 million respectively).
Those are big enough that the Heat can likely satisfy the league’s salary-matching rules should they bring in a high-salaried star. John Wall and Kyle Lowry are potential targets.”
Houston Rockets unlikely to trade John Wall
The reports of Miami being interested in Wall have led many to speculate whether the LA Clippers, who desperately need a point guard, would also contact the Rockets about Wall. But although contending teams may have interest in prying Wall from the Rockets, Houston Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen stated that Wall may not be on the move:
“They will likely view Wall as their point guard for the next few years at least.”
Holding on to Wall would be a wise decision for the Rockets, as he could help Kevin Porter Jr in the point guard role on the court, and his veteran presence could help him off the court as well, which is where he’s struggled most since joining the league. In addition, Wall has the two-way ability to be a force on each end of the floor.
Not to mention the fact that Wall will likely be better next season, as this is just his first year removed from injury. Not to mention the fact that moving Wall would force the Rockets to bring in $41 million worth of salary, which would likely force them to bring in players on expiring deals who won’t be with the team long-term, or players they have no interest in.
Feigen mentioned that virtually anyone outside of Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate could be moved for the right price, but Wall will likely remain in Houston.