The John Wall situation in Houston is nothing like the problem the team dealt with a year ago when James Harden forced his way out of town, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Whereas Harden had become frustrated with the organization and did all he could to be moved, Wall is comfortable in Houston and was viewed as a “valuable ally” to first-year head coach Stephen Silas last season, according to Iko.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN conveys a similar sentiment, writing that Wall’s relationship with team management and ownership is still strong, as all parties have remained in frequent contact throughout the offseason. Rockets sources told MacMahon that the club valued Wall’s leadership during the tumultuous Harden-related drama a year ago.
“(Wall’s) been a rock for us,” one source told ESPN. “He’s been great since he got here.”
Still, with Wall preferring the opportunity to compete for the playoffs and for a championship, and the Rockets focused on carving out enough playing time for all their young players, the two sides are no longer a great match, which is why they’ve mutually agreed to try to find Wall a new home. Rockets sources told MacMahon that the franchise wants to “do right” by its veteran players, as it did last season by sending Harden and P.J. Tucker to title contenders.
Here’s more on Wall and the Rockets:
- Sam Amick and David Aldridge of The Athletic take a closer look at which teams might be potential fits for Wall and whether his contract (worth $91.7MM over the next two years) will prevent Houston from finding a taker. Neither Amick nor Aldridge could identify any obvious trade partners.
- Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype wonders if the Thunder might be the best fit for Wall, since they’re the only team that could realistically take on his $44MM+ salary without sending out a ton of salary in return. However, the Rockets reportedly don’t want to give up first-round picks to move Wall, and Oklahoma City would likely require significant draft capital to seriously consider a deal.
- In an Instagram video, Bobby Marks of ESPN runs through a few possible Wall suitors, explaining why it would be challenging for each of them to put together the $35MM+ in salaries needed to match Wall’s $44MM+ cap hit. As Marks points out, it will be even more difficult once the regular season begins and teams are only permitted to carry 15 players on standard contracts, since matching Wall’s salary may require a three- or four-for one structure, which would require Houston to waive multiple players.