18 people who turned their back on the Houston Rockets franchise

NBA All-Star Game 2016
NBA All-Star Game 2016 / Elsa/GettyImages
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4. John Wall

At his peak, John Wall was a surefire superstar player in the NBA. The Kentucky product made five All-Star teams and even made an All-NBA team before being ravished with an unfortunate slew of injuries to his lower extremities.

Wall missed half the season in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and missed all of the 2019-20 season due to injury. The Rockets were tasked with finding a complimentary skillset for their franchise player in James Harden and dealt Russell Westbrook, who was on a supermax contract and ready to switch out his uniform, for Wall.

Wall was also on a supermax, making the salaries perfect for a swap. The Rockets acquired Wall thinking the move would help James Harden stay with the Rockets. Unfortunately it didn't.

But Wall didn't know that at the time.

He was simply seeking to prove he was still capable of playing at a high level after missing two years on the hardwood. Wall did that, as he averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds, despite the time away from the court.

The Rockets acquired Kevin Porter Jr. midway through Wall's lone season as the starting floor general in Houston and decided to move him to the point guard position, due to his passing abilities. The Rockets, who were rebuilding, deemed it necessary to give Porter those developmental minutes, rather than start an aging Wall, who was making over $40 million annually.

The franchise didn't have an issue paying Wall his bloated contract, so long as he was willing to accept the role they envisioned for him, which was the veteran, proven reserve guard. Wall was understandly disinterested in such a role, as he sought to resume his career in the league.

The Rockets and Wall seemingly agreed that he'd sit out the 2021-22 season while still getting paid his full $44.3 million salary. 

Imagine getting paid for a year's worth of work, despite not actually doing any work. 

The Rockets eventually bought Wall out of his contract, paying him $40.8 million up front, to allow him to sign with the LA Clippers.

Again, heavily one-sided in Wall's favor.

Despite that, Wall wasn't too thrilled with the arrangement, as he didn't mince words when describing his Rockets experience on the Run Your Race podcast.

"This is coach (Stephen Silas) talking to me like, ‘How would you feel coming off the bench?’ I said, ‘For who? No offense, but who? I was your best player last year.’

“I said, I’m not doing it. Either you gon guarantee me some minutes, or I’m not,” said Wall. “But I’m like, ‘let a motherf-er earn his spot.'"

Wall gave a one-word answer when asked about his experience in Houston.

Trash," Wall said. "Beyond trash. I'm going there thinking James (Harden) is going to be there, but he already wants out."

Wall also added that the Rockets weren't properly developing their young players, specifically Jalen Green, Porter, and KJ Martin, while sharing details of conversations he held with the youngsters.

"This s--- y'all getting away with over here, you go to any other team, you'll be out of the f------ league," Wall said. "You wouldn't play. I tried explaining that to them because they think it's sweet."

Wall continued. 

“I was just being a professional. I always wanted to teach them like, ‘don’t get used to this s-t. This is not how the NBA is. It's just a bad organization right now."

Wall went to the LA Clippers after being bought out, who only needed 34 games to realize Wall wasn't quite what they had hoped. Wonder why he didn't do a podcast about that experience.

Wall was ironically traded to the Rockets once more, although he didn't suit up for the team this time around, and has remained unsigned ever since.