NBA Rumor: John Wall Trade

119 rumors in this storyline

More Rumors in this Storyline

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.”


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.

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.

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

NBA teams remain uncertain about the trade bonus in John Wall’s contract, league sources confirmed to ESPN. As Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month, the All-Star point guard — along with the rest of the Washington Wizards’ roster — is available to discuss in trade scenarios. Interest in Wall is close to nonexistent around the league, per sources. Still, teams are going through the complicated exercise of trying to understand how a Wall trade would even work.

The Washington Wizards are floundering at 7-12. While the Wizards are only two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, the dysfunction in Washington is leading to widespread speculation that the organization will blow things up and trade away major players like John Wall or Bradley Beal. “John Wall is a very different situation [from Bradley Beal],” said Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod. “You can count on one hand, and probably with just a couple of fingers places that really might have interest in taking his contract on and what it all means to bring him in. “I would never say there’s no market for John Wall, but I think Bradley Beal has a much broader market. But if Washington was going to do something, they would have to get every last asset they could for Bradley Beal.”

Though an ESPN report suggested that the Wizards are willing to move anyone on the roster in possible trades — including cornerstones Wall and Beal — league sources dispute whether that’s a plan the franchise is truly willing to execute. For one, the value for every Wizard, including the all-star backcourt, couldn’t be any lower than it is right now. Some have suggested that a public shaming might be a necessary wake-up call for players who have become way too comfortable with the fat contracts owner Ted Leonsis has handed out in recent years.

“With the news we had today, that’s either going to boost us or fuck us up a little bit,” Bradley Beal told The Athletic after Monday’s practice. “We’ll see. “We’ve already aired out a lot of our problems the last couple of years. It’s not like any of our stuff is a secret,” Beal said. “We just got to do it on the floor. It’s not like we have bad character guys or bad guys. We’re just not getting it [done] in between the lines… Maybe it’s entitlement. Maybe we’re too cool. Maybe we feel we can flip it on a switch. All the things we’ve said in the past that’s been a problem with us. I don’t know. That’s the annoying part about it. You can’t pinpoint it as one thing.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
January 23, 2021 | 5:49 pm EST Update