Houston Rockets: Trade #1 of John Wall to the LA Clippers
(Contract length - 2021-22 salary)
What makes this deal the most attractive for the Rockets? It’s simple, flexibility. Patrick Beverly and Rajon Rondo are on expiring deals, and it won’t be hard to find a new home for Marcus Morris Sr.
One of the best vehicles to accelerate a rebuild is to have cap space. A prime example of this happened right before the draft. The New Orleans Pelicans wanted to move off of Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams’ contracts so badly that they traded those two and the 10th pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the 17th pick and Jonas Valanciunas.
The Grizzlies used their cap space to absorb bad contracts and got paid handsomely for it. Moving up seven spots may not seem like much but going from 17th to 10th in the draft is massive. Since the NBA-ABA merger, the 10th pick has gone on to produce 32.2 career win shares. Compared to 15.8 career win shares from the 17th pick. The Pelicans were willing to get half the player just to open salary-cap space.
The Rockets need to be in this business. Players like Bledsoe and Adams are overpaid, but they’re not bad players. If the Rockets are able to open up $40 million in cap space they could add a few extra draft picks and players.
Any trade the Rockets make of John Wall isn’t about getting assets back, it’s about getting the financial flexibility to acquire assets. Whether it’s free agency or absorbing other teams' unwanted contracts, trading John Wall opens up a world of possibilities.