- The Washington Times
Monday, June 27, 2022

John Wall recently picked up his $47 million player option for next season. But the five-time All-Star may not be with the Houston Rockets much longer.

Wall and the Rockets are expected to part ways — perhaps as soon as this week, according to a report. The Athletic reported Monday that the two sides are “gaining momentum” toward a breakup and there’s hope that a resolution could be in place by the start of free agency on Thursday.

The most likely option is that the Rockets and Wall agree to a contract buyout in which Wall agrees to give back some of his salary so that he can be released outright. Houston could also look to trade Wall, though the 31-year-old’s $47 million salary likely presents a major obstacle for interested clubs. 

Wall’s tenure with the Rockets has been underwhelming for the most part. The former Wizards star did not play for Houston last season after the team and the player reportedly couldn’t agree on his role on a rebuilding team. Before that, Wall appeared in just 40 games the prior season upon being traded from Washington to Houston. 

Despite the missed time, Wall is likely to have options if — or when — he hits the market. Ironically, his former team — the Wizards — have a glaring need at point guard, and The Athletic reported earlier this year that Wall has entertained the idea of returning to the District. It’s publicly unknown if Washington, which traded him for Russell Westbrook, feels as intrigued by a reunion. The Athletic reported in March that owner Ted Leonsis was “legit angry” with Wall when the guard was captured making gang signs at his birthday party in 2020. Wall apologized for the incident, but the video of the party paved the way for a messy divorce. 

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers are among other teams that have been linked to Wall. At 31, the former first overall pick faces questions of how much he can still contribute. Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game in 40 games with the Rockets, though his injury history remains a major concern.

Wall missed the 2019-20 season because of a torn Achilles and was limited to only 32 games the year prior because of bone spurs. In Houston, Wall battled a hamstring injury during the 2020-21 season before being shut down late. 

Wall spent 10 seasons with the Wizards.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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