John Wall was at one point arguably the most electrifying guard in the NBA. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him out of action for nearly two consecutive years. Couple that with the $133 million that he is owed over the next three seasons and it quickly becomes apparent why trading him is not an easy proposition.
Despite that, according to The Athletic NBA insider Shams Charania, “Wall has made it clear he wants [a] trade out of Washington to happen.”
So do the Washington Wizards have any decent options at this juncture? Yes. There are currently four potential trade suitors for Wall, any one of which would make a decent amount of sense for all parties involved.
While the New York Knicks did just agree to a one-year deal with Elfrid Payton and three-year deal with Austin Rivers to address their big hole at guard, Wall could be a nice addition on top of that. Assuming he is healthy, the 30-year-old would provide the sort of star factor to the organization that it has desperately been chasing for two decades now.
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The Knicks would likely have to send out Frank Ntilikina, Julius Randle and Kevin Knox, and the Wizards would do Wall, a first rounder and possibly some spare parts. If New York was legitimately willing to do a deal for Russell Westbrook and his monster contract, presuming that the same would be true for Wall and his doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.
If not New York, the Detroit Pistons would also make a ton of sense. Over the past three days they added five bigs: Isaiah Stewart with the No. 16 pick, Dewayne Dedmon from the Atlanta Hawks, Tony Bradley from the Utah Jazz, and then signed free agents Mason Plumlee and Jahlil Okafor.
Detroit subsequently flipped Bradley for 2018 first-round pick Zhaire Smith from the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, but then promptly waived him. Killian Hayes, who the Pistons took with the No. 7 overall pick, is more of a plan-for-the-future move. Wall would bring attention to the franchise in the here and now.
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Presumably any deal involving Wall would center around Blake Griffin, who is owed roughly $37 million next year, and spare parts. Washington would likely want Derrick Rose, but the pot would need to be sweetened for him to be included.
If not Detroit, the Orlando Magic would make some sense. The team’s offense moves at a turtle’s pace and is pretty much unwatchable. Obviously a lot hinders on Wall getting healthy, but if he does, he would provide an immediate spark to this dull, lifeless group.
Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz would presumably be a part of the package from Orlando’s side, and Washington would send back Wall, a first rounder and spare parts. Considering that the Magic have been looking to unload Gordon and Washington needs to get rid of Wall, this could be a rare win-win for both sides.
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Finally, don’t sleep on Houston. According to The Athletic’s Rockets insider Kelly Iko, there is currently a 50-50 chance of a Westbrook-for-Wall swap going down.
“I’d give it a 50-50 chance,” he said.
“With the state of uncertainty surrounding the Rockets’ two best players, you really can’t rule anything out. Wall for Westbrook would be a pretty clean swap cap-wise, and James Harden and Wall have a good relationship …
“I think the deal becomes much more likely if the Rockets receive the sort of draft compensation they’re looking for, recouping some of what they lost in the Chris Paul trade.”
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Contractually, Wall and Westbrook are basically the same guy. Both are owed roughly $41 million per year, and each has three years left on their deal. The latter has been more consistently healthy, but the former has been looking sharp in offseason workouts.
If the Rockets and Wizards are in a place where they feel like each star is forcing their hand with a trade, then it would make sense that they simply swap one bad deal for another.
One way or another, it seems increasingly likely that Wall’s tenure with the Wizards is coming to an end. Where will he ultimately end up? Time will tell.