What that role would look like in Houston is a matter of disagreement, so Wall remains with the Rockets but not on the court. The core issue remains that a veteran who can still put up numbers like Wall is not a great fit on a rebuilding Houston team that wants to give Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green heavy guard rotation minutes.
A lot of playoff-bound teams could use Wall, and there is interest, but not at the $91.7 million he is owed between this season and next. What about a buyout where Wall gives up some of that future money to get out of this contract and move on to a team that will give him run?
Those talks are not happening, reports David Aldridge at The Athletic.
Nor is a buyout a possibility. The numbers are so huge — $44 million this season, $47 million next — there’s no place that even makes much sense as a starting point, really, for either side. A buyout wouldn’t even help Houston much. Even if Wall were to agree to, say, give up $10 million of his 2020-21 salary, that would leave $34 million on Houston’s books, with which it could do nothing this year.
Players have given up considerable sums of money to move on before. Kemba Walker reportedly gave up $20 million of the $74 million he was owed over two years to get out of Oklahoma City, freeing him to sign with the Knicks (that new marriage is not going so well). Blake Griffin reportedly gave up about $13.3 million to get out of Detroit to play for Brooklyn.
Wall has no obligation to give up any money — would anyone reading this give up $25+ million they were contractually owed? That’s what it would take to start the buyout talks, meaning there is good reason the talks haven’t started.
Wall can still get buckets — he averaged 20 points a game for the Rockets last season — but it’s a question of fit. Eventually, Wall may have no choice but to take a small bench role, excel in it (think Derrick Rose with the Knicks), and maybe that generates trade buzz next offseason. Although, more than likely, the real talk next offseason will again be about a Wall buyout. By then, maybe it happens.
For now, there remains a stalemate between Wall and the Rockets.