Ugh. The last few years have not been kind to Houston Rockets guard John Wall. We are just three years away from reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2017. At the time, John Wall seemed like the spear that would propel the Washington Wizards to the top of the league. A driving force in the franchise, not seen since the Wes Unseld era.
And yet it seems like an eternity ago. In less than four years, John Wall has had to deal with recurring injuries, feuds with teammates, a highly publicized out-of-shape season, and ultimately a surprise contract with an organization that had promised itself to him.
Wall seems to have been rejuvenated somewhat in Houston, with a lethal new opponent in Victor Oladipo, but the Houston Rockets are still stumbling. His contract is largely unsellable, the shirts are perhaps the ugliest in years and Bradley Beal is acting like an ex who won the breakup.
John Wall needs a fresh start. Houston doesn’t count.
John Wall needs to find a place that really needs his services. John Wall needs to find a place where he is truly needed instead of competing for the spotlight with a star who carries the same weight.
And that’s all well and good, but such a place is hard to find. Conditions must be right for John Wall’s skills to be used to their full potential. More importantly, the team can afford his obviously overpriced contract.
Let’s make a deal. These are two of the best trade targets for John Wall:
Exchange 1 – San Antonio Spurs :
Houston Rockets gets: LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan…
San Antonio Spurs get: John Wall, Eric Gordon.
And in the biggest lateral move in NBA history, we secretly have the best trade spot for John Wall. It will be very difficult.
If you’re Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, you have to ask yourself what your success is: A year ago you were outside the play-offs, and now you’re on the brink of the abyss. Plus, play good Spurs basketball again, with a touch of movement.
Let’s get that beautiful basketball going.
The Spurs have already said they were willing to let LaMarcus Aldridge go at some point this calendar year. DeMar DeRozan is also old, has a bloated, expiring contract and doesn’t fit the Spurs’ heavyweight model.
Come in, John Wall.
If you’re the Houston Rockets and you feel trapped by John Wall’s contract for the next few years, it’s best to offer a team that wants to win now a chance to get rid of their own bloated contracts for some extra cash.
John Wall is still one of the most athletic guards in the NBA, and his vision is much better than DeRozan’s. Add in the talent of Eric Gordon (once he recovers from his injury), and the Spurs could suddenly become one of the most efficient attackers in the league, and John Wall will have plenty of room to work without Aldridge blocking up the middle.
And while it may seem risky for Spurs to acquire an injury-prone star with a few years left on his contract, Wall could be an ideal option for Spurs given his high IQ. With Gregg Popovich seemingly on the verge of retirement every year, giving him another star to compete with instead of forcing a rebuild seems plausible.
Trade 2 – Toronto Raptors:
Houston Rockets gets: Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell.
Toronto Raptors get: John Wall, Kevin Porter Jr.
Of course, this deal would require Kyle Lowry to be bought out at some point. But if we can get him to accept a ransom from Houston, he might be willing to listen. Houston gets rid of Wall’s contract and gets an experienced scorer in Norman Powell.
And in return, the Raptors get passes left and right from John Wall to Pascal Siakam and Ogan Anunoby, which are thrown to Boucher and Kevin Porter Jr. as interesting tradeoffs.
John Wall immediately gives the Raptors their best creator and playmaker since the departure of Kawhi Leonard (Pascal’s pen is still shaky and he’s still making youthful mistakes as a leader on the field). The seemingly more mature Wall would be perfect for Nurse Nick’s offense, while the line of Wall, VanVleet, Anunoby, Siakam and Boucher is very athletic and consistent on both ends of the floor.
This gives John Wall a collection of weapons he never had in DC, as well as most of the secondary characters in the setting. If Toronto is confident that John Wall is ready to strike, they could have another serious shot at becoming a major contender in the East.
There have been many depressing stories this season. Stephen Curry has struggled to be an oneman show in Golden State, LaMarcus Aldridge is on his way home, Kyle Lowry is ready to retire, and the whole saga between John Wall and the Wizards is just existentially sad.
If nothing else, these ridiculous trade ideas give hope that he can find happiness and triumph at some point in his career. So let’s hope together. Good luck, John.
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