- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Washington Wizards have said for months that they’re looking forward to John Wall‘s return to the court.

They didn’t say that it might be in another uniform. 

According to The Athletic, the Wizards and the Houston Rockets have discussed  a trade involving Wall and star Russell Westbrook. Last week, Westbrook requested a trade from Houston after he had spent just one year with the Rockets. 

The longtime Oklahoma City star and former MVP has reportedly had a lukewarm trade market due to his albatross of a contract. Westbrook has two years left on his deal plus a player option that would pay him $47 million if picked up.

Wall, though, also has a contract that would be tough for any team to pick up — and that might help facilitate a deal for Westbrook.

Wall, who hasn’t played since December 2018 due to a heel injury and then a torn Achilles, also has two years left on his deal with a player option. The 30-year-old is set to make $44 million in each of the last two seasons and $47 million if the player option is picked up. 

The Athletic reported that the Rockets are seeking additional assets to take on Wall in exchange for Westbrook. 

While Westbrook’s play has declined since his MVP season in 2017, he was named to third-team All-NBA — getting voted in even over Wizards star Bradley Beal. 

The concern with Westbrook, of course, is his injury history. He has had multiple knee surgeries and missed 15 regular season games last season. In the NBA bubble, he had a strained right quad that caused him to miss part of the first round of the playoffs.  The Rockets made it to the second round, but eventually lost to the NBA-champion Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

Since then, the Rockets have undergone an organizational upheaval. General manager Daryl Morey resigned from the Rockets before joining the Philadelphia 76ers, while coach Mike D’Antoni did not return. In addition to Westbrook, star James Harden has requested a trade to Brooklyn. 

On Tuesday, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard addressed the media prior to The Athletic’s report, but indicated he was excited about Wall‘s return. He said he had been in contact with the guard and kept him in the loop about the team’s plans this offseason.


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