John Wall and the Houston Rockets have agreed that his contract will be surrendered, a move that will give him the freedom to sign with any team of his choice, two people with knowledge of the situation said Monday night.
Wall’s preference is to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to one of the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the five-time All-Star guard had not made his intentions public.
Wall is getting about $41 million from Houston, according to the other person who spoke to AP. Wall was set to make $47.4 million next season, his last in what was a four-year contract.
Yahoo first reported that Wall and the Rockets came to the buyout decision. ESPN first reported that Wall plans to join the Clippers, presumably for the average taxpayer of about $6.4 million — basically the same amount he gives back to the Rockets to become a free agent. No deal can be made between Wall and a team until he cancels the waivers and becomes a free agent.
Wall has been working out a lot in recent weeks, including a few sessions at the University of Miami.
Wall played in 40 games with Houston in the 2020-21 season, averaging 20.6 points and 6.9 assists. He played his first nine seasons in Washington, averaging 19.1 points and 9.1 assists in 613 regular-season games for his career.
Wall did not appear in any game for Houston last season. The Rockets are rebuilding around a young core, and Wall – who turns 32 in September – wouldn’t be in their plans.
He was selected to the All-Star Game for five consecutive seasons from 2014 through 2018. Since the last of those rosters 4 1/2 seasons ago, he has played in exactly 82 games, including playoffs — the equivalent of one NBA season — while earning $150 million in salary and seeing his career derailed by injuries.
Wall has a long injury and surgical history. He had surgery on both knees in 2016, ended his 2018-19 season prematurely due to surgery on bone spurs in his left heel, after which a tear in his left Achilles tendon necessitated another surgery in 2019 and a one-year recovery plan.
He has not appeared in an NBA game since April 23, 2021.
The development of Wall and the Rockets entering into a buyout deal comes on the same day that another high-profile point guard — Kyrie Irving of Brooklyn — announced he is exercising his $36.9 million option for the final year of his deal with the Nets.
NBA free agency will officially open on Thursday with the start of the negotiation windows. In most cases, new contracts can be signed from 6 July.
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