Houston Rocket trade value #8: John Wall
John Wall, quite literally, might have the least amount of trade value in the entire NBA. He’s set to be the second-highest-paid player in the league next year and if he exercises his player option for the 2022-23 season he will be the highest-paid player as of now.
With Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Luca Doncic and Chris Paul set to hit free agency over the next two offseasons it’s unlikely that Wall will remain the highest-paid player for 2022-23 but he has a good chance to remain in the top-five. When a player is making that much money, for them to have any trade value they have to be one of the 20 best players in the league.
Unfortunately, Wall is nowhere near the top-20 at this stage in his career and it seems unlikely that he will ever approach that territory again. He will be 31 next season and hasn’t played in at least 70 games since the 2016-17 season.
Last season, in 40 games played, Wall produced 0.6 value over a replacement player (VORP), which would place him at 1.2 VORP over a full 82 game season. A full season mark of 1.2 VORP usually sees a player finish around 90th overall in the statistic.
Getting the 90th best player for the price of the second-best player is not a good way to boost your trade value. The reality is, even if Wall was still a good player his contract still makes him near impossible to fit into a team’s salary cap.
The few teams that have enough salary-cap space are almost all rebuilding with exception of the New York Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs. The Knicks remain the best landing spot, and it has been reported there is some level of interest, but for the Rockets to trade Wall they would likely have to give up something of value to get someone to take him.
The Rockets should let Wall play out his deal and hope some desperate team makes the mistake of bringing Wall in. At this point, trading Wall without sacrificing any draft capital would be a win for the Rockets. Hopefully, he experiences a rebound in 2021-22 but barring that he’s a sunk cost at this point.
Next: Trade value #7