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Houston Rockets: 3 reasons the Rockets shouldn’t buyout John Wall

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 26: John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets reacts during the second quarter of a game against the Washington Wizards at Toyota Center on January 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 26: John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets reacts during the second quarter of a game against the Washington Wizards at Toyota Center on January 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
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Jae’Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Jae’Sean Tate #8 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Reason #2 the Houston Rockets shouldn’t buyout John Wall: It’s better to be bad now

One way franchises get out of bad contracts is they cut a player using the stretch provision. The player still receives their money but it is spread out over multiple years so the salary cap impact is muted in the short term.

For a player making as much as John Wall, he has a $47.3 million player option in 2022-23, using the stretch provision is a non-starter. $47.3 million stretched over five years is almost $9.5 million a season.

If the Rockets were contenders then maybe they could justify stretching Wall’s contract, but right now it’s better for them to be as bad as possible. Wall’s contract eating up so much of their cap space will allow the Rockets to tank as hard as possible over the next two seasons without having to dip into free agency to reach the salary floor.

While Houston Rockets general manager, Rafael Stone, said the Rockets don’t want to engage in a long-drawn-out rebuild, he also said that that the James Harden trade can’t be judged until 2030. Aside from the public posturing, it appears that the Rockets have no intention of building a competitive roster over the next two seasons.

If the plan is to be bad in the short term then having John Wall play out his deal goes a long way in satisfying those ambitions. Wall is still an NBA quality player that is paid enough to keep them above the salary floor, while also not being good enough to make them a playoff team.

In two seasons, the Rockets will be off of Wall’s deal and will have added multiple lottery picks to their roster. For the Rockets, it’s better to be bad now than later.

Next: Reason #1

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