SportsPulse: This isn’t your grandparent’s NBA. Following a short layoff from the previous season, the league has devised a unique plan for 2020-21, but will it go off without a hitch?
It became apparent John Wall’s time with the Washington Wizards had run its course.
It also became apparent that the Houston Rockets are a team in flux, and Russell Westbrook was unsure of his future there.
The deal that has been discussed and made sense dollar-wise is the deal the Wizards and Rockets made on Wednesday.
The Wizards have reached a deal to acquire Westbrook, the All-Star guard who will reunite with his former coach Scott Brooks in Washington, two people with direct knowledge of the trade told USA TODAY Sports under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The Rockets will get Wall and a protected 2023 first-round pick.
“Having the opportunity to acquire a player of Russell’s caliber and character was something that we could not pass up when looking at both the immediate and long-term future of our team,” Wizards general manager Tommy Shepperd said later Wednesday in a statement after the teams announced the trade. “With that said, the decision to part ways with John, one of the greatest players in franchise history, was extremely difficult. What he meant to our organization and our community is immeasurable and will not be forgotten.”
Wall hasn’t played since Dec. 26, 2018, sidelined by injuries, including a ruptured Achilles tendon. The writing was on the wall recently when he told reporters at a charity event, “We can’t control certain things that happen in life, but one thing I can control is my heart will always be in this city.”
Sheppard also recently said the Wizards were Bradley Beal’s team, and while he didn’t intend to dismiss Wall, the words stung. Beal and Wall were supposed to grow together and lead the Wizards to deep playoff runs. That never happened, and while the backcourt stars said the right things and tried to do the rights things, they weren’t a perfect match on the court.
Wall, 30, is entering the second year of a four-year, $171 million deal that will pay him $47.3 million in the final season of 2022-23. Westbrook, 32, is entering the third year of a five-year, $206 million contract that will pay him $47 million in 2022-23.
Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists last season alongside James Harden with Houston.
While Wall hasn’t played in almost two years, Wizards coach Scott Brooks on Tuesday said, “His speed, his quickness and his ability to explode is there. It’s all going to come down to the…
Read More: Rockets trade Russell Westbrook to Wizards for John Wall