On September 14, it was reported by ESPN that the Houston Rockets and point guard John Wall have agreed to work together in an attempt to find a trade suitor. Since the beginning of the season, the Rockets have opted to rely on rookie Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. as their starting backcourt.
Wall, who has not appeared in a game for Houston this season, is unlikely to find a legitimate trade partner that will take on his $44.3 million salary. In 2022, the 31-year old is scheduled to make $47.4 million in his upcoming player option.
At this time, teams that have all or most of their mid-level exceptions include the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards. With the exception of the Pelicans, each previously named franchise faces luxury tax barriers.
Other contenders such as the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers can only afford to pay Wall a $2.6 million veteran minimum contract.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Miami Heat are one team monitoring the situation surrounding the five-time All-Star. However, the team would only be interested if Wall was bought out by Houston.
The Heat boast a 10-5 record and are placed as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Kyle Lowry, 35, is averaging 12.7 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per contest to this point. The only other pure point guards on the depth chart include Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent.
The latest reports indicate that Wall has no intention of giving up his scheduled salary, making it difficult for the Rockets to move forward. In 40 games played with Houston in 2020, Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game while shooting a career-low 40.4 percent from the field.
Even if Wall were to hit the open market, his injury history should be a red flag among front offices. In 2012, he missed the first 33 games of the season with a non-traumatic stress injury in his left knee. In December of 2018, Wall suffered a season-ending heel injury. The following year, he suffered a partially ruptured Achilles tendon and missed the entire 2019-20 season.