The writing was on the Wall ( pun not intended) once the Rockets drafted Jalen Green and even last year when the team decided that KPJ would play point guard exclusively in the G-League. Wall missed most of the second half of the season last year once the team shut him down.
Ever since Green was drafted, many fans and pundits wondered how a three-guard lineup would work. Considering the Rockets did not want to place Porter Jr. on the bench and definitely not Green, this seems the only solution. Today's news clears up the log jam at point guard and clears the way for Porter Jr. to run the point. Now comes the difficult part of moving Wall's massive 90 plus million dollars a year contract via trade or buyout.
The best solution would be to buy him out of course because you wouldn't have to bring back any salary. However, in any trade, you will have to match salaries with every team outside of the Thunder who would have no interest in Wall in any trade. So let's take a look at how a buyout works and why it won't be easy to execute in this situation.
How a buyout works in the NBA
When a player and his team decide that it's time to part ways and this player is still under contract, a buyout is one of the options. In a buyout, the player has to give the team a portion of his remaining guaranteed contract to facilitate the buyout. We so this happened last year when Blake Griffin and the Pistons decided to part ways.
This means the Pistons still have to pay the remaining money left on Griffin's contract (a little under 30 million). Once a player is bought out, he has to wait 48 hours to clear waivers. In Griffin's case, and if it were to happen for Wall, this wouldn't be a problem considering a team would have to take on his full contract during the waiver period.
Why a buyout is so difficult
As stated above, a player, in most cases, has to give back money on their contract to make it worthwhile for the team to want to do a buyout. Teams aren't in the business of paying large sums of money to have their former players playing for another team. Wall is owed a little over 95 million dollars over the next two years. Even if Wall were to give back 50 million (which would be the largest buyout amount in NBA history), the Rockets would still have to pay 22 to 23 million dollars this year and next.
This isn't going to happen. NBA players, especially players who are coming off major surgeries and, while still good, are past their prime, would be willing to give back this amount of money. The key to remember in all of this is that BOTH sides have to agree to an amount. It sounds great in theory, but the Rockets would have to be willing to eat anywhere from 60 to 70 million over the next two years just to move on from John Wall.
The most any player has given back in a buyout is Bison Dele. He gave the Pistons back 31.7 million dollars back in 1999. This was after retirement and not because he wanted to go to another team. This underlines how difficult a buyout would be at this point.
Whatever happens down the road, this actually is a good thing for the Rockets. It frees up Porter Jr. to be the primary ball-handler and gives the Rockets a more natural starting lineup. A buyout is the best solution, but it may not be a quick solution.