The Los Angeles Clippers saw a slight boost in their NBA Championship odds after word hit the street that John Wall is heading to LA after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Houston Rockets once free agency begins at midnight.
The Clippers were looking to upgrade their point guard position after spending last season with Reggie Jackson and Terence Mann. Wall provides the Clippers with a legit scoring threat from the playmaker spot to go alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
During his NBA career, Wall has averaged 19.1 points and 9.1 assists per game, but is only a 32.3% shooter from 3-point range.
The Clippers are now +550 odds and co-favorites with the Golden State Warriors to win the 2023 NBA Championship, according to a recent update from DraftKings.
We loved the Clippers before the Wall news, and we love them even more after the latest news. If you treat NBA futures like investing, we suggested that you take a close look at both LA-based NBA teams before buying the Clippers and selling the Lakers.
Wall: Wizards > Rockets > Clippers
It’s been a bumpy and frustrating last few years for Wall. The former #1 pick in the NBA draft out of Kentucky thrived with the Washington Wizards for nearly nine seasons before the injury bug caught up to him. During the 2016-17 season, Wall averaged a career-high 23.1 points and 10.7 assists per game playing alongside Bradley Beal.
Wall appeared in just 41 games in 2017-18, and only 32 games in 2018-19. The injury-riddled Wall missed 91 games in those two seasons before missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season while recovering from an Achilles injury.
The Wizards sent Wall to the Houston Rockets in a trade for Russell Westbrook in late 2020. However, Wall’s time with the Rockets was weird and unusual. He appeared in just 40 games with the Rockets in the 2020-21 season.
Wall didn’t suit up for a single game in Houston last season and essentially collected a $44.3 million paycheck to not play. The Rockets were trying to develop their young players while continuing to tank for a top draft pick instead of letting Wall go wild in an attempt to lead the young squad to a playoff berth.
Wall and the Rockets agreed to a buyout of his $47.4 million contract while leaving approximately $6.5 million on the table. That’s roughly the same amount that will cover a one-year salary with the Clippers under the veteran mid-level exemption.
Trade rumors: Westbrook/Wall 2.0
There was an omnipresent rumor that the Lakers would acquire Wall in a trade for Westbrook. It sounds bizarre that the same two players could get traded a second time, but both had similar max contracts. Westbrook and the Lakers couldn’t work out a deal, however, and the front office scrambled to find a trade partner.
The Lakers and Rockets had numerous talks about a deal leading up to last year’s trade deadline, but the Rockets didn’t want an even swap with the Lakers. The Rockets asked for an additional first-round draft pick as a sweetener because they really had no use for Westbrook and didn’t want to help the Lakers fix a huge roster problem. The Lakers had no future draft picks to give up, so the trade never materialized.
There was still some talk that the Lakers/Rockets would work out a deal before the start of the preseason, but that won’t happen now that Wall is no longer with the Rockets. Wall still gets to play in LA, but it will be with the Clippers. Meanwhile, the Lakers are stuck with Westbrook after he opted in for a final year of his ridiculous contract.