Wall is no longer the superstar he was but showed he could still be productive last year in his first season since tearing his Achilles, averaging 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 40 games. The Rockets, however, have no interest in trying to be good this season and there is no reason for Wall to risk injury playing for a terrible team. So the team and player came to an understanding that Wall would simply sit tight until some other team in the NBA became desperate enough to trade for his $38 million contract or Wall himself would get so sick of it all that he'd give some money back to Houston to facilitate a buyout and sign elsewhere.
That is what we thought happened. But after the Rockets lost their 15th straight game last night at the hands of the Boston Celtics, Wall started tweeting. His tweets seem to suggest that the Rockets told him he wasn't going to play and he had no say in the matter, which changes the perception of the situation rather significantly.
First he tweeted at Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, who observed Wall was on the bench while the Rockets tumbled.
Then came an old-fashioned retweet:
This casts the Rockets in a rather poor light. We've seen teams shut guys down for the year in pursuit of high draft picks, but those scenarios usually involve some kind of legitimate injury. The Thunder did this last year with Al Horford but at least he played 28 games before sitting out the rest of the season, and even then the decision, from all accounts, was mutual. Houston is just not letting Wall play because he might win them more games.
I imagine the NBA might step in and do something about this if Wall keeps voicing his displeasure in public. The league has done a lot to discourage outright tanking since The Process days. Teams will be bad every year but sitting a healthy player because he is too good is a step too far.
Unfortunately for Wall, there isn't an end in sight. He isn't good enough to justify the $38 million he'll make this year and Houston isn't going to send out assets to get someone to take him. Unless Adam Silver calls the Rockets, the team has no incentive to play him. Wall is stuck in limbo, however many tweets he might send out.