Even though the Houston Rockets finished the season with a league-worst record of 17-55, there was, strangely, quite a bit of optimism. Even as the season was winding down, hope coursed through the organization because of what Kevin Porter Jr., after his acquisition from the Cleveland Cavaliers, flashed with the franchise.
Porter Jr. led the G-League in scoring before becoming the youngest player in league history to record 50 points and 10 assists in a game. Just like that, the city of Houston had yet another talented lefty to hinge all their title hopes on.
When the Rockets landed the number two overall pick, the thought of pairing either Cade Cunningham or Jalen Green with Kevin Porter Jr. had Houston fans salivating over the potential. In all the excitement, John Wall has been lost in the shuffle.
The Houston Rockets have quite the dilemma on their hands. Entering his age 31 season, Wall will have a cap hit of $44.3 million this year and $47.3 million next season. The Rockets no doubt would like to move on from him, but doing so will come at a cost. These are the pros and cons of the Rockets keeping John Wall.
Houston Rockets: the cons to keeping John Wall
Con #2: Development
Holding onto John Wall has the potential to stall the development of the Rockets' younger players. The franchise is looking to build around Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr, and Jalen Green, not Wall.
The Rockets have invested a lot in Porter Jr. and Green's future and they will both need heavy minutes this season. While Wall could play alongside those two, they're not the only young players in need of opportunities. Armoni Brooks, Josh Christopher, Khyri Thomas, and even Kenyon Martin Jr could see their growth stunted. These guys are the future of the Rockets, and Wall is not.
Con #1: Money
With the current state of the franchise, the biggest drawback to keeping Wall is money. The Rockets' roster is full speed ahead into a rebuild and they should surround it with even more young talent or veterans on the minimum. When you tie over $40 million into one player, it's hard for a front office to maneuver.
Houston Rockets: the pros to keeping John Wall
Pro #2: He has the experience a young roster needs
Remember all the young guys that were just mentioned, they're still really young. Outside of Christian Wood, none of them are even 25. Every single one of them could learn a lot from a player like John Wall.
He's been through it all. He's played in big games, he's had big games, and he's had a ton of adversity. Wall has experiences that young players can learn from. If Wall embraces being a mentor, he can play a pivotal role in the Rockets' future.
Pro #1: Wall still has something left in the tank
Wall still has a little something left in the tank after averaging 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds a game in his first game action in over two years. There remains a real chance that he improves upon last season's stat line.
With a bit of improvement and a clean bill of health, the Rockets might be able to flip John Wall for a decent haul. Teams with championship aspirations are known to get desperate, and capitalizing on that could see Wall on a contender and the Rockets with even more draft picks.
Rafael Stone and John Wall need to have a candid conversation. Is Wall ready and willing to take a step back? What's his appetite for a buy-out? How much does Wall have left in his tank? And will that hurt the Rockets' tank? The pros and cons of keeping Wall seem to balance each other out.