NBA rumors: Woj: John Wall almost impossible to trade

ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski spoke out about the prospect of the Rockets trading John Wall. He claimed that it would be “almost impossible” for them to get it done without attaching assets that they’d rather keep. “I think trading John Wall, with two years left and over $90 million is almost impossible unless the Rockets, all of a sudden decide that they’re willing to attach a number of first round picks and I don’t see that scenario. I think he’s going to be in Houston a while unless he’s willing to take money and agree to a buyout, but he doesn’t want to do that right now.”

More on John Wall Trade?

Sources said the original plan was for the Rockets to keep Wall around and revisit the situation in a year’s time. Wall is liked in Houston, something that has been spoken about publicly and behind closed doors. During the 2020-21 season, Wall served as a valuable ally to Silas, almost serving as an assistant coach of sorts to the first-year head coach. The two were in constant communication about everything concerning the team, from culture and environment to X’s and O’s.
If a team does trade for Wall, it will likely be as part of a salary dump with plans to waive him afterward. One team that makes sense is the Oklahoma City Thunder who are currently over the cap but have the ability to generate north of $32 million in cap space. They would just need to send back the difference between Wall’s salary and their cap space amount to absorb him. For example, they could send back Derrick Favors ($9.7 million) and another player earning $2 million for Wall.
John Wall is due $91.7 million over the next two seasons, including a player option for $47.4 million in 2022-23, a contract that makes attempting to trade him extremely difficult. Sources said the Rockets do not want to give up first-round draft compensation in a Wall trade and would not have interest in discussing a buyout until possibly after free agency next summer.
Wall, a former No. 1 overall pick, is expected to participate in training camp and to be around the team while he remains on the Rockets' roster, sources said. Houston management is optimistic that Wall's wisdom and leadership can in particular benefit Porter and Green, who join center Christian Wood, 25, as the cornerstones of the Rockets' rebuild.
Sources said Wall's relationship with Rockets ownership and management remains strong, as Wall and the Rockets have been in frequent communication throughout the offseason. High-ranking Rockets sources expressed deep appreciation for Wall's leadership throughout a tumultuous campaign last season, when James Harden's trade demand pushed Houston into rebuilding mode and a rash of injuries factored into the Rockets finishing with the NBA's worst record. "He's been a rock for us," a Rockets source said. "He's been great since he got here."
Mark Berman: NBA sources confirm @Shams Charania report that the Rockets and John Wall are mutually working together to find a better fit for him. Sources say John Wall has not asked to be traded. According to sources the five-time All-Star simply isn’t part of the Rockets long-term plans.
After meeting and seeing eye-to-eye on the direction of the Houston Rockets, the franchise and John Wall have agreed on working together to find a new home for the five-time All-Star guard, sources tell The Athletic. The plan is for Wall to remain present around the Rockets entering training camp, which begins late this month, and to not play in games for Houston this season, sources said.
In a meeting between Wall and the Rockets recently, Houston officials explained to Wall the direction of the franchise and that the team wants to protect the veteran guard’s health. The Rockets explained that the team does not want to jeopardize Wall’s fitness, and the sides agreed on the route that won’t complicate his ability to continue playing at a high level. Sources said there are no buyout plans on the two years and $91.7 million remaining on Wall’s contract — including a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Of the two veteran guards, MacMahon sees Gordon, who is owed $37.8 million over the next two seasons, as much more likely to be moved by the Rockets at some point during the upcoming season. With Wall, who is due $91.7 million, the logistics are far more complicated. Tim MacMahon: “The last year (of Gordon’s deal), there’s no guaranteed money. I think Gordon is getting traded at some point. But John Wall, every minute that he plays … you’re wasting time.”
Kind of sounds like you want him to stick around for this rebuild. Is that fair to say? Rafael Stone: I think with all the guys that we ended the year with, we like them as people, we like them as players. It was a uniquely challenging year, and we rotated through just a million players. We just took what felt like injury after injury after injury. We had a really tough year, but we didn’t end the year with a group that we didn’t like; we like the players on our roster. Practically speaking, NBA teams turn over — you’re not going to bring back the exact same team that you had the year before, whether because you’re adding people through the draft or free agency or whatever. And so that applies to every team, not just ours. But what we really like is our guys, and we’re certainly not trying to not have any of them back. All of them contribute in positive ways, both on and off the court. And so, if they’re not going to be around, we need to bring in somebody who is impressive and is positive.
Those are big enough that the Heat can likely satisfy the league’s salary-matching rules should they bring in a high-salaried star. John Wall and Kyle Lowry are potential targets.
The consensus of TrueHoop sources is that the eight games between the All-Star break and the trade deadline will mean a lot in assessing how good the Heat are,” Haberstroh wrote. “They play the Magic twice, Bulls, Cavs, Grizzlies, Pacers twice, and Suns. If the Heat decide to make a deal, rival executives wonder if a package centered on Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Rising Star rookie Precious Achiuwa could net another star. Heat brass have shrewdly signed Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard to mid-tier contracts ($12.6 and $9.4 million respectively). Those are big enough that the Heat can likely satisfy the league’s salary-matching rules should they bring in a high-salaried star. John Wall and Kyle Lowry are potential targets.
Wall became disgruntled about his future in Washington as soon as trade conversations became public, league sources say. But the market for his services was even more muted than it was for Westbrook; any team that had even mild interest in acquiring him also wanted multiple draft picks as compensation, according to sources.
John Wall: Thank You DC. pic.twitter.com/Pgwe8BdDWq

http://twitter.com/JohnWall/status/1334556093532549120
HoopsHype spoke with one general manager, three executives, and an NBA scout for their reactions to the blockbuster trade and what it means for the players and their new teams. “It’s a wash,” one Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “Both teams needed to make a trade. Washington has to give up a pick because Wall has a bigger injury history and hasn’t played in two years. The contracts were the same. Russ should be really good in the East. Scotty (Brooks) should know how to use him. Washington will be better than they were since Russ is actually playing and Wall hasn’t been. I think Washington is for sure a playoff team.”
“The trade seemed inevitable,” another Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “Two players at similar stages of their careers and both having demanded a change of scenery. Brooks gets a force of nature with whom he is well versed. Houston gets a much needed first-round pick as they inch toward a rebuild.”
After playing against Harden in pick-up games and showing some explosion, one scout believes his fit next to Harden in the backcourt should be a good transition. “I think it was time for a fresh start for both,” an NBA scout told HoopsHype. “I like Russell going to Washington and giving them an opportunity to keep Brad happy. Scott Brooks knows how to use him, and he’ll be the lead guard. Houston getting Wall and playing him with Harden seems similar to the fit with Russell. Obviously, there’s a real unknown about how good he’ll be back from injury. I think Washington got the better of the trade but let’s see what Wall’s status is.”
Leonsis had also come to believe that Wall was, often if not always, “too cool for school,” in his thinking. And, the shirtless video of Wall at a party this summer, flashing gang signs, was the last straw. (Again, as I wrote two weeks ago: Leonsis was a thousand percent right in being furious with his 30-year-old face of the franchise for doing such a dumb thing.) This was not a decision that could be made by GM Tommy Sheppard, or his equivalent in Houston, Rafael Stone. “At the end of the day, this is a Ted call,” one source said.
Chris Miller: John Wall has been traded. John, from my sourcing, is shocked, and he should be because this is the first time that his name has ever been put into trade talks
Initial trade talks stalled over draft capital and the possibility of other players included in a deal — for instance, young big man Thomas Bryant —before both teams could come to terms on an agreement. In the end, it was a simple Westbrook-for-Wall swap with the addition of a heavily protected first-round pick. Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard declared a week ago that the Wizards had no plans on trading Wall and the Rockets were prepared to enter camp with Westbrook, but situations in the NBA are always fluid and can change on a dime — a phone call is all it takes.
Ted Leonsis: I am very grateful to @JohnWall and his family for all they have done for our franchise and our community. John was the first player picked in the NBA draft and the first player we were blessed to pick under our new ownership of the @WashWizards a decade ago.
The Wizards traded Wall to the Houston Rockets for Westbrook on Wednesday. On behalf of the Washington franchise, Brooks commented on the blockbuster trade. “Russell’s accomplishments and honors on the court speak for themselves, but his drive and will to win are what separate him as a truly unique player,” said Brooks, via David Aldridge of The Athletic. “As much as I’m looking forward to reuniting with hi, I’m equally sad to say good-bye to John. He is one of the toughest and most gifted players I’ve ever been around and we all wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

http://twitter.com/ESPNNBA/status/1334308281045708801
John Hollinger: Important: Houston will receive a trade exception for a whopping $103,894. (There are theoretical examples where a team could use an exception this small, but I mean, not real ones).
The Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets have agreed to trade two disgruntled star point guards, John Wall and Russell Westbrook, in a blockbuster deal, sources told ESPN. The Wizards are sending Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick to the Rockets for Westbrook in a deal that both players wanted and had been simmering for weeks, sources said.
For the Wizards and Rockets, there's hope that the exchange of guards will play a role in convincing the two franchise shooting guards on each team, Washington's Bradley Beal and Houston's James Harden, to want to stay long-term with their teams. Harden has privately asked for a trade, and Beal could become a free agent in 2021.
Houston's stance on Harden has not changed, a high-ranking Rockets source told ESPN, saying the team hoped to be competitive with the perennial MVP candidate on the roster this season and does not envision a scenario in which Harden would be traded before the opener. The Rockets have let it be known that they would require a return that included a young, potential franchise cornerstone and a massive picks package in any potential deal for Harden, according to sources.
Sources said that Westbrook cited a desire to "play my game" and concerns about the Rockets' casual culture. Westbrook was a third-team All-NBA selection during his season with the Rockets, averaging 27.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, despite getting off to a slow start while recovering from knee surgery and adapting to a new franchise following an 11-year tenure in Oklahoma City.
Hughes believe it could be entirely true that Charania’s reporting was accurate when he said Wall wants to be traded. He also believed it could still be entirely true that Sheppard hasn’t heard from Wall directly about wanting to be traded. “Players will come out to their agents or other people and say, ‘Hey, I want to be moved’ and then never say a word (to the team),” said Hughes. “I’ve seen players that on one end say ‘Get me out of here’ and then on the other end act like it’s all roses. I’ve seen that happen.”
In an intriguing piece of detail in this offseason, Zach Lowe of ESPN, divulged that the Detroit Pistons approached the Washington Wizards for a possible trade involving Blake Griffin and John Wall. Via Zach Lowe of ESPN: “The Pistons in recent weeks made an exploratory call to the Washington Wizards about a potential swap of Blake Griffin for John Wall, sources said, but Detroit’s real level of interest in that deal is unclear; they value Griffin, and the conversation led nowhere, sources said.”

http://twitter.com/avarwallace/status/1331342095408394244
NBA Central: John Wall doesn’t want to talk about his trade request (🎥 @ABC7Sports) pic.twitter.com/4UIVHi0flp

http://twitter.com/TheNBACentral/status/1331359887591346176
Westbrook is the more valuable player, therefore Stone should be asking for a sweetener. We just don’t know how Wall will look once he comes back for the 2020-21 season. I’ve heard differing opinions on him, some saying he looks as fast as ever and some saying he’s lost a good chunk of his athleticism.
For what it’s worth, I had heard prior to the start of free agency that Houston had also asked for Thomas Bryant in any discussion, although it’s unclear how that would work now with Wood on board. There are a lot of moving parts here and the season is just around the corner. Man, this stuff is difficult!
Trading him before he plays in another game could be more difficult than waiting until he steps on the court again with the hopes he’ll impress other teams. People who have watched him play in offseason scrimmages say he looks good, but teams will want to see him in competition that matters before they put any stock into adding him. Instagram videos from offseason pickup games are hardly proof that a guy can hold up for 30 minutes a night or 82 games a season.
San Antonio Spurs (by Fred Katz): Like with other teams, the Spurs might be more into a deal if the Wizards were willing to incentivize taking on Wall’s contract. But that’s never easy. The one thing the Wizards would have going for them is San Antonio’s desire to remain competitive during Gregg Popovich’s final years. If the organization believes Wall can show something after returning from injury, maybe it tries placing him next to DeMar DeRozan — and it’s not like the Spurs have emphasized 3-point shooting as much as other franchises. But they also almost never make trades. And they probably won’t break the trend by dealing for someone like Wall, unless it meant taking in a boatload of picks.
The Wizards have been building more around Wall’s backcourt mate Bradley Beal in the wake of his injuries, with many believing that’s what set Wall off. In the days leading to the draft, teams like the Denver Nuggets were inquiring about Beal, according to multiple league sources.
The Wizards had been staunch in letting other teams know Beal was not available. It’s a reversal from the days where Wall said Beal, who arrived in D.C. two years after Wall, was his “sidekick.” According to a league source, this was inevitable. “As soon as Tommy said it was Brad’s team, you knew it was coming,” the source told Yahoo Sports.
A Wall-Westbrook swap is not imminent, according to sources. But the fact that teams are having discussions that involve Wall should change the conversation about his deal, even if it is for another point guard in his 30s whose game is predicated mostly on athleticism and is also on a massive contract.
Wall’s version of this would be going to the Rockets for Westbrook — if it ever happens. If it doesn’t, maybe there’s something else out there. Maybe there’s another niche market that doesn’t consider Wall the league’s least-tradeable player and instead deems him more desirable than some other guys. After all, Wall is now fully healthy and has looked encouraging, according to people who have been at his offseason workouts and scrimmages.
Sources tell NBC Sports Washington that Wall was surprised recently to hear general manager Tommy Sheppard say the team is now building around Bradley Beal, but understood the thinking considering Beal has emerged as an All-NBA talent since Wall's absence.
A source confirmed that the Rockets and Washington Wizards have discussed a Westbrook-for-John Wall deal, as first reported by The Athletic, but Houston wants assets in addition to Wall, a former All-Star point guard who is coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon.
As we reported in early July, that scenario has been seriously discussed inside the Heat and there’s sentiment to do that, because of how much the Heat loves Beal and because of the internal belief that Miami can get Wall back to All-Star level following his ruptured Achilles, which is expected to sideline him this upcoming season. But the Wizards have shown no inclination to package Beal with Wall in an attempt to purge the final four years and $171 million of Wall’s contract.
What about the other scenario, with the Heat taking on both Wall and Beal with the understanding that Miami wouldn’t need to give up nearly as much quality in return? As we reported in early July, that scenario has been seriously discussed inside the Heat and there’s sentiment to do that, because of how much the Heat loves Beal and because of the internal belief that Miami can get Wall back to All-Star level following his ruptured Achilles, which is expected to sideline him this upcoming season.
John Wall: One, I love where I’m at. I love D.C. My loyalty is to D.C. To hear a lot of Wizards people, Tommy (Sheppard, the new general manager), (managing partner) Ted Leonsis and (Monumental Sports and Entertainment senior vice president) Zach Leonsis and all those guys, the whole community is behind me, and they’re not giving up on me, so that’s big for me. I’m not one of those guys that wants to play for multiple teams. I want to play for one organization. If it comes down to it, where you have to move around and it don’t work, they’re giving me the opportunity to come back, not this year but next year after, if I don’t play well, you trade me. I can’t be mad at nobody because they gave me the opportunity and I gave myself a chance to prove myself. That’s all I ask for.
Does it disappoint you when you see a situation like, say, Russell Westbrook, I’m sure he wanted to stay in Oklahoma City his whole career, but he had to look elsewhere once Paul George asked out? John Wall: When it gets like that, it’s nothing you really can do. Russ gave everything to that city. They love him. Without a doubt. He didn’t ask for a trade. Never will you hear me ask for a trade. The only way I’m going to get traded from D.C. is if they want to trade me themselves. And that’s one thing I think the fans will appreciate, if they ever get to that point. I’m never one of those guys that want to chase a ring or do those things. I’ve told people this before. You win a ring, nobody is going to talk about that years down the road. But if you build a legacy in a place, that’s going to go on for a long time.
After months of speculation surrounding the future of players like John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. amid the Wizards’ struggles, team owner Ted Leonsis went on the record to confirm his star players won’t be involved in trade talks ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. “I love when they go, ‘trade Bradley Beal. Trade John Wall. Trade Otto Porter.’ And I go ‘ok, for who?’ We’re not trading any of those players… wouldn’t throw in the towel on this core,” Leonsis said during an interview with WTOP radio.
Noah Frank: On possibility of dealing Wall, Beal, Porter before NBA Trade Deadline: "We're not trading any of those players"
But why would the Wizards trade a young, productive star on a reasonable deal? According to the rival executives and agents, the Wizards may not and have indicated no willingness to part with Beal. The problem is Wall. "Wall is unmovable," one of the rival executives told B/R.
Every time you ask Wall or his people, they say he wants to be a Wizard for life. It’s good to hear, and also understandable-he’s been given the keys to this franchise since he got here. But the Wizards are putting a lot of coin in his pocket, too. “It’s on John to demand more of John,” a veteran Eastern Conference front office executive said last week.
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