Houston Rockets GM Rafael Stone will be in store for a busy offseason, as the Rockets must decide whether to bring back soon-to-be free agents such as David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, and Armoni Brooks (to a lesser extent). The Rockets will also have to assess the trade market for Eric Gordon, which could be tricky to navigate, as he played well this season, averaging 17.8 points (his highest since 2017-18) on 57.7 percent true shooting, which is the third-best mark of his career.
However Gordon has battled health issues, which limited him to just 27 games and has kept him out of action since March 11th. But although those decisions will be important, they all pale in comparison to the Rockets’ situation with John Wall, the five-time All-Star and former All-NBA guard.
Wall will turn 31-years-old before the 2021-22 season kicks off, which would make him the elder statesman on a young Rockets team. At Wall’s age and at this stage of his career, he doesn’t exactly align with the Rockets’ timeline, and he’d certainly be tempted by the opportunity to join a contending team.
Trading Wall seems unlikely, as the Rockets would be forced to part with some of the draft capital they scrambled for this season just to offload Wall’s remaining $91.7 million. Including draft picks in a Wall trade could prevent the Rockets from packaging said draft picks to acquire a proven star, which the front office may be seeking to do.
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) May 15, 2021
Granted, none of this is any knock against Wall, as he averaged 20.6 points (3rd-best of his career) and 6.9 assists, showing glimpses of the Wizards version of himself.
Furthermore, Wall has played better than anyone would have imagined, especially for someone that missed two years of action on the hardwood. In spite of that, $91.7 million is alot for a team to take on in salary.
For that reason, the Rockets’ best chance of getting rid of Wall this summer is via buyout. In fact, Tim MacMahon, who is ESPN’s beat writer for the Rockets, stated that the Rockets will eventually do just that, at some point in the future, during the most recent episode of The Hoop Collective.
“I think we all understand that it’s a matter of when, not if, the buyout talks heat up again.”
For Fertitta, such a move would do wonders for his reputation, in the eyes of many.
Next: How a buyout would help Fertitta