John Wall picked up his $47 million player option this week, but the expectation has been that Houston, now armed with a roster full of young talent, would be looking to move on from the veteran.
Trading Wall’s salary is nearly impossible, unless they want to bring back Russell Westbrook, and as such the most likely scenario seemed to be a buyout that would allow all parties to move on. The question was how much would the Rockets be willing to eat and how much would Wall be willing to give up, but it appears the two sides have reached an agreement amenable to everyone, as reported by Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.
Five-time NBA All-Star John Wall will secure a buyout with the Houston Rockets and become an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 28, 2022
Per Haynes and ESPN’s Tim McMahon, Wall will give back $6.5 million of his contract to leave Houston, but he’s now free to find a new home and return to the NBA basketball court for the first time in over a calendar year. The frontrunners for his services, per Marc Stein, are the Los Angeles Clippers, who will make a push for the former All-Star to join them — and the taxpayer mid-level exception just so happens to be the exact amount Wall gave back.
I wrote Sunday about the strongest indications in months that John Wall could soon successfully negotiate a buyout with Houston, with the Rockets’ monthslong efforts to find a workable trade exit for the former All-Star guard repeatedly stalling. League sources reiterated Monday that the Clippers would be making a strong pitch to Wall once he makes it to the open market, with their chances of signing him said to be enhanced by the presence of coach Tyronn Lue.
Given the Clippers cap situation, unless they decide to pursue a Kyrie Irving trade — which they can now that he’s picked up his option — Wall makes sense for a backup to Reggie Jackson as they look to load up on more veteran help for what they hope will be a deep playoff run next year. It would allow Wall a chance to prove himself again coming off a year off for tanking reasons and could revitalize his career. Other contenders could emerge as suitors, but for now it appears Wall is going to be headed off to L.A. once free agency opens — something Woj confirmed shortly after the buyout became public.