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NBA - US Sports: What next for John Wall at the Rockets?

Five-time All-Star John Wall didn't play a single game for Houston Rockets last season and it seems as if his time with the team will come to an end before the new campaign gets under way.

Wall was traded to Houston back in 2020 in the deal that saw Russell Westbrook head to Washington Wizards.

Wall was a star in Washington after the Wizards selected him with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, but his time in Houston has been largely forgettable.

Injuries have limited his involvement as he has been dogged by problems since heel surgery in 2019, having later developed an infection. There have been other factors as well and here we look at what went wrong for Wall in Houston and where he could end up next.

What happened to John Wall at Houston?

Wall joined the Rockets in 2020, along with a 2023 lottery-protected first-round pick, in a move that saw Russell Westbrook head in the opposite direction to Washington.

With the Wizards Wall had been a key man and had earned five consecutive All-Star selections between 2013 and 2018, but injuries limited him to just 72 games across his final two seasons with the team and he was ultimately sacrificed for Westbrook.

At the time it seemed a strange move for Houston and the analysts' initial fears have been proven to be correct, despite a fairly bright start to his time with the Texan outfit.

The Rockets were a poor team when he arrived and the 2020/21 season proved to be a write-off, but there were a few big moments for Wall and he recorded a first triple-double since 2016 with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over the Toronto Raptors, which ended a 20-game losing streak.

Wall was then ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a grade 2 hamstring strain in April, and hasn't played for the team since - he ended up sitting out the entirety of last season despite being healthy.

The Rockets planned to use the veteran guard from the bench to give their young backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr more game time as challenging for the post-season never looked a realistic goal.

Houston were unable to find a trade partner and Wall wasn't interested in sacrificing up years of salary in a buyout, so an impasse was reached.

Could John Wall remain at Houston Rockets?

Wall is becoming a bit of a forgotten man, but at 31 and now fully fit he still has plenty of offer in the NBA.

Wall, who has missed two of the last five seasons and who has played just 113 games during that period, is entering the final year of a four-year, $171million deal and it is now thought he is open to the possibility of a buyout, rather than sit out another season - as the $48million he's owed this season means he is an unrealistic trade target.

There is still a chance that Wall could end up staying with the Rockets, but he would have to accept the role of bench player if he was to see any game time.

The franchise are clearly putting their focus on youth and, after picking up TyTy Washington in the draft, they now have another young guard to fit into their rotation.

Wall will feel he still has something offer to a top team in the NBA, even if establishing himself as the starting point guard at a team with championship aspirations looks unrealistic, and with just one year left on his deal he should be able to negotiate a buyout this year.

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Who could John Wall sign for?

The lack of interest in Wall in terms of a trade is solely down to the huge contract he is on in Houston, rather than any concerns over his ability.

He may not be quite at the same level he was when he earned five All-Star calls in a row, but he is still an intelligent playmaker and in his 40 games with Houston in 2020/21 he averaged 20.6 points-per-game and 6.9 assists - despite having just returned from injury and moving to a new team.

There will be plenty of interest in Wall if he does manage to agree a buyout. Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers have been mentioned as possible suitors at regular intervals, while Los Angeles Lakers could also be tempted to bring in Wall over the summer.

Miami, the Clippers and the Lakers are all teams with genuine championship hopes going into the new season and would all probably appeal as options for Wall, if he is willing to lower his wage demands.

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