The NBA season is closer by the day, as we prepare for the start of NBA Media Days, and Training camps opening up on September 28th, the NBA news cycle is back. How does it impact the OKC Thunder?
The Houston Rockets have seen a ton of turnover during the last calendar year, including losing one of their best players in franchise history, James Harden, in a messy divorce while also seeing a top mind in the NBA, Daryl Morey, jump ship and head to the Philadelphia 76ers.
With all of that turnover, the Rockets acquired John Wall a now 31-year-old five-time All-Star who was the top pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Wall, entering his 11th NBA season, is on a contract stamped as “untradable”.
They gave that same label to Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Kemba Walker, and Al Horford before each of them was traded away. So it is clear that there is often a path to move on from these big contracts, however, Wall’s deal feels different.
It was reported by The Athletic that John Wall and the Houston Rockets are looking for trade partners, while Wall will be at training camp and practices, he will not play another game in a Houston uniform. Neither side seems willing to work on a buyout…yet.
Are the OKC Thunder a realistic option for John Wall?
Now, before you get crazy, or begin typing mean things in the comment section below if the Oklahoma City Thunder did trade for the Kentucky product he would not play for the team or be considered a valuable piece. It would just be Sam Presti using his cap space in an interesting way.
The only way the OKC Thunder take on Wall is if the Houston Rockets do them a favor in return, such as removing all the protections from the NBA Draft picks they owe to the Thunder. If the Rockets elected to do that, sure, Presti would accept.
Though, oftentimes fans forget, it takes two to tango. Realizing Wall is on a bad contract, it is not so bad that the Rockets would give up that much value for someone else to buy him out. Houston could simply take the hit and buy out Wall on their own, understanding it is unlikely they land a big fish with that cap space anyway while maintaining the value of those pick protections.
Ultimately, while it would be awesome to remove the protections on the draft assets owed to OKC, I do not see the incentive for Rafael Stone to do such a thing, taking the Thunder off the table as a realistic trade partner.