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John Wall trade’s shocking final ending for Wizards

John Wall trade Wizards Rockets

In the summer of 2017, the Washington Wizards inked John Wall to a massive four-year, $170 million extension that kicked in during the 2019-20 NBA season. Wall’s contract soon became the consensus worst deal in the league due to a number of injuries, and many saw the former No. 1 overall pick as an untradeable asset due to his insanely large contract.

However, the Wizards were somehow able to get out of his deal initially by trading for Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets. With Washington now shipping Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers, let’s look back on how the Wizards were able to get a pretty solid haul from what was perceived as the worst contract in the NBA.

Before diving into it, let’s examine how Wall’s deal became the worst in the NBA. As mentioned, Wall and the Wizards agreed on the contract prior to the 2017-18 season. After the extension, however, the contract soon started to look bad for Washington. Wall played only 41 games in that campaign, but did lead Washington within a win of the Eastern Conference finals.

The following season, the Wizards soon realized they made a huge mistake in giving the five-time All-Star that massive extension. In 2018-19, Wall’s injuries piled on and a left heel injury initially knocked him out for the rest of the season in December. Everything went from bad to worse when Wall suffered a freak accident at his home, rupturing his left Achilles in the process.

Wall’s deal officially became the worst contract in the league. What made it a nightmare was that Wall’s extension hadn’t even kicked in when he tore his Achilles. Many believed that Washington needed to ship out a huge amount of picks just to get out of that contract.

Fortunately, the Wizards found a trade partner in the Houston Rockets, who also had a massive contract on their books in Russell Westbrook. With that, Washington and Houston made the Wall-Westbrook swap, and the Wizards only needed to attach a protected 2023 first-round pick to get the 6-foot-4 guard off their hands.

After a year with Westbrook, the Wizards traded him to the Lakers. In exchange, they received Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the 22nd overall pick (Isaiah Jackson) in the 2021 NBA draft from the Purple and Gold. That deal eventually became a five-teamer that orchestrated Spencer Dinwiddie’s arrival in Washington. As part of the deal, the Wizards also flipped Jackson from the Lakers to the Indiana Pacers for Aaron Holiday and the 31st overall pick (Isaiah Todd).

Connecting everything, Washington basically turned John Wall into Kuzma, a 3-and-D veteran in the person of KCP, the 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year in Montrezl Harrell, a talented scorer and playmaker in Dinwiddie, a young guard in Aaron Holiday, and a prospect with upside in Isaiah Todd. Obviously, the majority of this haul came from the Westbrook trade, but it’s insane to see just how this all stemmed from what was seen as an untradeable contract.

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard honestly deserves a medal for pulling this off.