Rockets, Wall agree to hold him out of games, seek trade

The Rockets and John Wall have agreed to work together to try to find a new home for the veteran point guard, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Wall didn’t explicitly ask to be traded, but he isn’t part of Houston’s long-term plans, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston.

As Charania explains, the plan is for Wall to remain around the team, starting with training camp in two weeks, but he won’t play in games for Houston this season. In a recent meeting between the two sides, team officials explained to Wall that they want to protect his health and avoid jeopardizing his fitness, which led them to agree to this plan, according to Charania, who adds that the team and the 31-year-old see “eye-to-eye” on the issue.

Sources tell Charania that the Rockets aren’t looking to negotiate a buyout of the two years and $91.7M left on Wall’s contract and are focused for now on finding a deal on the trade market. Given Wall’s pricey cap hits ($44.3M this season, with a $47.4M player option for 2022-23) and his injury history, he has negative trade value, so Houston would almost certainly have to attach assets to find a taker.

It’s unclear how much appetite the rebuilding Rockets will have to surrender future draft picks. Even though they landed several first-rounders and pick swaps in last season’s James Harden trade, they don’t have a huge surplus of future selections, having previously sent out a pair of future first-rounders in their deal for Russell Westbrook.

Wall’s trade value should at least be a little higher than it was a year ago, when he was coming off a 2019-20 season fully lost to an Achilles injury. In 2020-21, he appeared in 40 games for the Rockets (32.2 MPG), averaging 20.6 PPG, 6.9 APG and 3.2 RPG, albeit with a modest .404/.317/.749 shooting line.

As they explore their trade options for Wall, the Rockets will have to lean more heavily on Kevin Porter Jr. and D.J. Augustin. Charania indicates the team has also held discussions with free agent point guards in recent days, suggesting another player could be added to the mix at the position.

The Rockets currently have a full 20-man offseason roster but only have 14 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so they could open up the final spot on their 15-man regular season roster for a point guard, if they so choose.

This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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