Is John Wall actually worth trading for amid looming Rockets exit?
John Wall has requested a trade and the Houston Rockets are now looking for a trade partner. This will be a tedious task for the organization, given that Wall still has $91 million left in his contract. To make things more punishing, there’s little data to prove if Wall still has it in him.
The guard missed more than half of the 2018-19 season and the entire 2019-20 season due to injuries. While he did average 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in his return, he shot a meager 40.4 percent. And so, the ultimate question is, is John Wall really worth trading for? Will any team trade a bunch of their assets or even a star player to acquire the five-time All-Star’s services?
Wall himself has kept mum on the matter. However, it’s still obvious that he would love to be a part of a contending team. This is the main reason for his trade request. The Rockets look so different now compared to the James Harden era. Looking at their roster, they are filled with young guns like Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Christian Wood, Alperen Şengün, among others. It would be the ideal scenario if Wall agrees to become a mentor to these young players. Understandably, the 31-year-old wants a different scenario.
As noted, Wall’s averages in his return were good but not impressive enough to raise eyebrows. It would be foolish to completely pan his performance last year and say that he was just warming up and getting a feel of things. Even if we do and look at his numbers in the previous years, there’s still a lot of holes in Wall’s game that won’t make him an attractive player to chase for.
As for one, John Wall has never been a good 3-pointer. He’s a career 32.3 shooter from deep. Sure, he knocks down contested and wide-open 3-pointers here and there. But in today’s game where the long-distance shot has been of great importance, Wall becomes a massive liability. Up to a certain extent, Wall’s game hinges a lot on his athleticism and quickness. This has declined over the past few years and we may see him get out-paced by the majority of today’s guards. Though props to him for developing his playmaking abilities to an extreme. This, as well as his top-notch defense, maybe one of the redeeming points amid all the apprehensions on the other aspects of his game.
As most analysts have mentioned, the main problem about Wall is not necessarily his game. He can help a team win. Rather, it’s the massive contract that’s making teams think twice or completely ignore him altogether. He’s due $91.7 million over the next two seasons, including a player option worth $47.4 million in 2022-23. The only way other teams will even consider taking Wall is if the Rockets include a number of draft picks in the package — something that they are unwilling to do and for a very good reason: it’ll put their rebuilding process in jeopardy.
All in all, Wall may not be worth the chase. His contract is fit for a star player — someone who can literally turn things around. Unfortunately, we cannot confidently say that Wall is still this type of player anymore. Even in his days with the Wizards, Wall struggled to shed off their mid-tier status.
Perhaps the only thing that will make Wall worth the chase is through a buyout followed by a pocket-friendly contract. This would give his new team an ample amount of cash they can use to add more pieces to the championship puzzle. If John Wall agrees, then he may well be on the way to his first title.