Russell Westbrook and John Wall are both owed about $132 million over the next three seasons. They both play point guard. As far as it goes for the Rockets finding a buyer for Westbrook on the trade market, that’s about as close as things have reportedly gotten.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Tuesday that Houston and the Wizards have had discussions about a deal centering around Westbrook and Wall. Charania added that there’s been “no traction yet,” and that the Rockets are seeking more in return.
Westbrook, 32, has been involved in trade rumors for about a week after reports emerged that the point guard wanted out of Houston. He’s got three years and $132.6 milion remaining on his contract (including a 2022-23 player option). Westbrook is coming off another remarkable statistical season, averaging 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game, but his inability to fully gel with James Harden or shoot from the outside made his lone year with the Rockets less fruitful than Houston could have hoped for.
Wall, 30, owed $132.9 million for the next three seasons (including a 2022-23 player option), hasn’t played for the Wizards since Dec. 26, 2018. He ruptured his Achilles tendon that day and didn’t return the remainder of that season or at all during the 2019-20 campaign. Wall was averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 assists per game in 2018-19 before the injury, but it’s unclear what the long-term implications are on a point guard who depends on speed like Wall after such a serious injury.
While Charania has reported that Houston wants more back in a deal for Westbrook, it’s possible that the Rockets don’t have a lot of leverage to deal because the whole league has heard about his reported desire to leave town. The deal lines up perfectly under the NBA’s trade rules as is, because the key component of matching incoming and outgoing salaries is covered by Wall and Westbrook’s contracts.
Houston has already begun to reshape its roster, sending away wing Robert Covington to Portland late Monday. It’s also been reported that James Harden is thinking about both Brooklyn and Philadelphia as desired spots to wind up in a trade. The Rockets have already seen a shift in their power positions this offseason, with Mike D’Antoni gone as head coach and GM Daryl Morey off to the 76ers, with Stephen Silas and Rafael Stone stepping into those positions, respectively.