When the Houston Rockets acquired John Wall in 2020, there were questions regarding exactly what Wall had left in the tank. In his prime Wall was one of the better two-way guards in the league, as he made the All-Defensive team in 2014-15 and made the All-NBA team in 2016-17, in addition to five All-Star teams.
Wall was also unstoppable in transition, as his athleticism presented challenges for opposing defenses. But that was all prior to Wall suffering a torn Achilles, which had been proven to be a career-altering injury, up until recently.
Wall bounced back in 2020-21 with averages of 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds, showing flashes of the former star version of himself. Through Wall's first 26 games with the Rockets, he was shooting 35.3% from 3-point range (53/150) on 5.8 attempts per game, demonstrating the ability to shoot from deep, albeit in spurts.
What does Houston Rockets guard John Wall's market look like?
Wall and the Rockets recently agreed to work to find a new home for the five-time All-Star, leaving many to wonder where his services could be needed most. On Tuesday, ESPN's Kendrick Perkins provided a glimpse of Wall's market, with the former NBA champion listing several teams that could pursue the Rockets' star guard on ESPN's The Jump.
"It's three teams out there that I think should really try to pursue John Wall. And that's the Philadelphia 76ers, the LA Clippers, and the New Orleans Pelicans."
The 76ers have been mentioned heavily on social media as a potential destination, with the overwhelming majority suggesting some iteration of Wall for Ben Simmons. The problem with this the reported asking price that Philadelphia has put out for Simmons, which could cost the Rockets either Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr., or Jae'Sean Tate, along with a bevy of draft capital.
This is too unreasonable of a deal for the Rockets to consider. The New Orleans Pelicans seemed like a much more likely option prior to their offseason moves, as they had Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe at the start of the offseason, which would have been an easy financial swap for both sides.
The Pels have since added Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte Graham, who they subsequently gave a new contract worth $47.3 million. The Pels are hard-capped now, which makes it difficult to take on a salary like Wall's, unless they send out an equal return.
This means the Pels would have to send out at least four or five players to match Wall's salary, which they wouldn't exactly be able to do. Sure a three or four-team deal is always possible, but that gets even more complicated, although not impossible.
The LA Clippers, however, would seem to be a realistic option as it pertains to a trade. For one, Wall previously liked a post suggesting he get dealt to LAC, and he has a close relationship with Paul George, who will surely be asked to carry the load with Kawhi Leonard missing a significant amount of the 2021-22 season with a torn ACL.
The Clippers could send Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, and Serge Ibaka to make the salaries work and they likely wouldn't be asking for steep draft capital either. One of the challenges is that the deal couldn't be completed until later in the year, since Bledsoe was just moved from New Orleans.
Also, the Clippers would have likely already made a move for Wall if they wanted him, as the Rockets surely would have made him available if they had received a reasonable offer. In addition, the Rockets would be tasked with taking on Kennard's remaining $64 million through 2025, although the final year includes a team option and the deal encompasses $8 million worth of unlikely incentives over the life of the deal. So when it's all said and done, Kennard is only guaranteed to receive 41 million through the next three years, which isn't bad for a 25-year-old who just made 44.6% of his threes in 2020-21.
So as you can see, there isn't exactly an ideal situation for the Rockets to ship Wall out to a different team, but it's important to note that it's still very early in the process. Because at the end of the day, moving Wall becomes much easier if the Rockets are willing to attach draft capital (which they don't want to do right now) or if Wall simply agrees to a buyout (which he also doesn't want to do at this juncture). So we likely will have to wait awhile before anything materializes.