The LA Clippers wrapped up their offseason quicker and quieter than most teams did, electing for a handful of minor moves to improve their roster on the margins as opposed to adding a superstar. Within a week, the organization re-signed Kawhi Leonard, Reggie Jackson, and Nicolas Batum while also agreeing to a deal with Justise Winslow. Now, it’s been reported that they have interest in a John Wall trade.
The Houston Rockets and Wall have reportedly mutually agreed to work together on a trade to a destination of Wall’s choosing. In the meantime, he’ll be with the team, but is not expected to play during the regular season. From the Rockets’ standpoint, that makes a lot of sense.
The Rockets have been fielding offers for John Wall, including from the Clippers, Heat and Pistons, per sources. After taking a major PR hit for the James Harden trade, the Rockets aren’t rushing into any deal. One Houston exec: “We have to win this trade.’’
— Mitch Lawrence (@Mitch_Lawrence) September 14, 2021
In this past year’s NBA Draft, Houston drafted four 19 year old players in Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba, and Josh Christopher. Those four joined a team led by 21 year old young star Kevin Porter Jr. and 25 year old Christian Wood. John Wall just turned 31 years old and, while he can still play at a high-level, simply does not fit with the Rockets’ youth movement.
It was thought that the Clippers would at least pursue a John Wall trade earlier in the offseason when it appeared clear Wall would not be a part of the Rockets future, but they ultimately ended up trading for guard Eric Bledsoe. With the latter move already completed, is there even a need for Wall in Los Angeles?
Prior to the Bledsoe deal, a John Wall trade for Luke Kennard, Patrick Beverley, and Rajon Rondo would’ve made a lot sense for both sides. The Clippers would’ve traded two expiring deals and a promising young talent in Kennard in exchange for a high rush, high reward point guard.
After trading both of their big chips Beverley and Rondo in the Bledsoe deal, the Clippers’ best trade scenario likely has to involve Kennard, Bledsoe, and Serge Ibaka or Ivica Zubac. Additionally, Bledsoe can’t be combined with another player in a trade until September 20th. Is acquiring Wall worth giving up the depth on the current team?
John Wall only played 40 games in his one year in Houston, averaging 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game on 40.4 percent shooting from the field. Neither the efficiency nor the availability was there for Wall last year, but this is a guy coming off a two-year layoff due to injury and playing on a bad team.
The Rockets’ guard is scheduled to earn a combined $91.7 million over the next two seasons, which makes trading for him so much more complicated.
Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss the start of the 2021-22 NBA season due to his recovery from surgery on his partially torn ACL. His surgery was completed in July, and there’s no indication of when he’ll be able to return. Adding John Wall to the Clippers would certainly add some much-needed playmaking and scoring at the point guard position.
At this point, however, the Clippers just don’t have a serious need for John Wall. Sure, their interest in trading for him real, but the Clippers have essentially locked in their roster for next season and don’t seem to need to make a move at this time. Prior to trading for Eric Bledsoe, a John Wall trade made a lot of sense. Now, the Clippers should just pass.