John Wall returned to the basketball court for the first time in a long time this season. He looked about as you'd expect for a guy who hadn't scored a point since 2018. But the numbers are encouraging; Wall averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in 40 games this year. Wall may never be the superstar he once was, but there are signs of a productive player.
Wall, however, was able to put up those numbers in part because he was playing for one of the worst teams in the NBA in Houston. The Rockets promised to be competitive after the James Harden trade-- and for a time, they were. Then Christian Wood got hurt in the midst of a breakout season and they completely bottomed out.At that point, it was very much in Houston's best interest to be as bad as possible because they keep their first-round pick this year if it lands in the top-4 of the lottery. Otherwise, it goes to Oklahoma City.
The standout play of Wood aside, Houston is building for the future. Wall does not fit into that picture as an aging, extremely expensive player. He's under contract until 2023 with a max contract and is owed over $40 million for each of the next two years. Houston will not be able to trade Wall because of that contract, so they're stuck with him unless owner Tilman Fertitta decides to pony up and buy out Wall entirely.
We did get a potential hint about Wall's feelings on the matter via an Instagram poll yesterday. An account called Clutch City Nation asked followers what they thought Wall would do: stay in Houston or find a way out. Whoever creates such a poll can see which option specific accounts vote for. Apparently, Wall himself voted he would leave the Rockets.
As the man who traded places with Wall last offseason would say: Ahh. That's pretty interesting!
This could mean everything or nothing at all. Such is the way the NBA rumor wheel turns. Itl'll be hard for Wall to get out of dodge here. But it's a possibility. Just this season we saw two players with similarly onerous contracts bought out by their teams in Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, to the surprise of us all. Anything can happen.