Wall arrived with an albatross of a contract, though, and soon thereafter, Houston shipped Harden to the Brooklyn Nets for a bevy of future draft assets.
Since signing the supermax extension during the summer of 2017, Wall has played in just 105 of his team’s 286 games.
The five-time All-Star suffered through multiple knee injuries and an Achilles tear that cost him an entire season.
Now, he looks to rebuild his worth with the Rockets, and thanks to his contract, he’s likely staying in Houston for the time being.
If he can stay healthy, Wall has a shot at redemption with the Rockets.
Redemption Tour Starts In Houston
Wall signed a four-year, $171 million contract extension with the Washington Wizards.
Once decimated by injuries, that contract seemed untradeable, but Houston swapped a similarly significant deal with the Wizards when they sent Russell Westbrook to Washington.
This contract pays Wall $44 million in 2021-22 and sports a player option at $47 million for 2022-23.
He’s paid like a top-5 player, but, thanks to those injuries, he’s no longer that.
Considering the 31-year-old’s injury history, he’s unlikely to decline that payday, so this contract doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere any time soon.
It’s been an up-and-down year for John Wall.
The veteran point guard played well after 2 years away from the game, but he’s still owed $91 million and Father Time isn’t going away.
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) May 7, 2021
Wall’s first run in Houston went well until his latest injury.
A hamstring strain sidelined him after 40 games, but when he did play, the veteran impressed.
He averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 32.2 minutes per game during his first season in Houston.
At one point, Wall helped spur a six-game winning streak for a team that finished the season with just 17 wins total.
Considering the length and worth of his contract, and his injury history, it seems unlikely Wall lands on another team in the near future.
If he’s going to rebuild his worth in the league, he will need to do so in Houston.
Wall Can Help During Rockets Rebuild
Wall might no longer have the explosive athleticism that led him to that supermax contract extension, but the veteran point guard can still provide plenty of value for the Rockets during this rebuild.
During his 40-game run last season, Wall flashed considerable chemistry with Rockets big man Christian Wood.
Now, Houston has restocked the roster with rookie talent and Wall can provide the necessary veteran leadership a team like this needs.
John Wall averaged 8.3 APG after the all star break last season.
If you’re worried about Wall stunting the development of KPJ and Jalen Green by ball hogging or jacking up shots, I wouldn’t be.
— That Houston Sports Fan 🚀 (@HakeemThe_Dr34m) August 23, 2021
The worry with having Wall on the roster might be that he takes away from the development of No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green.
But Wall’s play last season indicated he’s ready to assume more of a facilitator role.
After the All-Star break, Wall averaged 8.3 assists per game.
And prior to his crippling injuries, Wall posted three straight seasons over 10 assists per game.
Green projects as a potentially elite scorer at the NBA level, so having someone like Wall set the table for him will relieve the pressure from the unproven rookie.
Wall’s presence in the lineup should also aid in the development of young talents like Kevin Porter Jr., and the other three first-round picks this season, Josh Christopher, Usman Garuba, and Alperen Sengun.
Wall’s competitive nature should galvanize Houston’s young core, and although he’s not in the Rockets’ long-term plans, Wall’s redemption remains vital to Houston’s success.