It Looks Like John Wall Is Going To Miss The Entire Season All Because He Makes Too Much Money
This John Wall situation is a little crazy when you think about it. There's nothing wrong with John Wall health wise, he looks to be back to being fully healthy
It's not a production issue, because while he may no longer be Prime John Wall, he still put up 20/3/7 in 32 minutes a night in the 40 games he played last year and he's only 31 years old. The Rockets shut him down for the year to move forward with the youth movement, which is fine. That's their right. It's also John Wall's right to not accept a buyout and collect every last penny of his guaranteed deal. Unfortuantely for everyone involved, that massive $44M salary is nearly impossible to trade right now. Not to mention, there's a $47M player option for 2022-2023 which obviously Wall is going to pick up.
I'm not really sure what the harm would be to actually play Wall. Is he really going to stunt the development of the other players that much. If anything, maybe he plays well and a team is more open to potentially coming up with a deal. If he ends up looking terrible and they can't move him, how is that any different from the situation they are currently in? Have we ever seen a guy who was healthy essentially have his season shut down all because he makes too much money? Like, if Wall's salary was 20-25M, he's probably already on his new team. Normally when guys can't find a job in the NBA it's because of their talent, but with Wall it's not a talent issue. There are players who are worse than him currently on NBA rosters getting minutes. But you can't fault a team for not wanting to touch that contract.
Listen, this is pretty much a dream gig if you can get it. Collect every last penny of your 90M+ while doing absolutely nothing. No risk of further injury, no additional miles on your legs, that's not a bad life if you can get it. I imagine once he hits the market in 2023 and the price for his services drop immensely, there will be a market for John Wall. Unless Daryl Morey just says fuck it and trades Simmons for Wall, what's the solution?
It's all an interesting look at the dynamic between players and organizations. Both sides are acting well within their rights, it's not like Wall is demanding a trade and all this stuff, the team just doesn't want anything to do with him anymore. Unfortunately, guaranteed contracts are a thing. To think that we could see John Wall have to miss two full seasons all because of his contract is pretty crazy. Normally you would say any contract is tradeable. Paul was traded. Westbrook was traded. Eventually, Simmons will probably be traded. I just don't see that happening for John Wall despite him still being able to play at an NBA level.
Meanwhile, credit to the Wizards for how they navigated this whole situation. The trade for Westbrook didn't last long but they ultimately were able to flip him for pieces and picks to the Lakers and now they look great. They're 8-3 which is 1st in the Eastern Conference right now and they have the longest current winning streak in the East. Essentially, they traded two bloated contracts and came out the other end not only alive, but in a better position than they were before. That's not how it always works when you are trading franchise players, but they figured out a way to make it work. The Rockets on the other hand, well things haven't been so kind to them since they first traded away Chris Paul.