John Wall’s strange tenure with the Houston Rockets is ending.
The Rockets have agreed to a buyout of the final year of Wall’s massive contract, sources told Yahoo Sports, paving the way for the five-time All-Star to resurrect his career with a competitive team.
Wall’s agent Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports, is meeting with Rockets general manager Rafael Stone on Tuesday to finalize the terms, sources said.
Wall’s preference will be 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 announced his intentions publicly.
It is expected Wall will give back approximately $7 million in salary to hit the open market, sources said. He picked up his $47.4 million player option before the buyout.
He will become one of the top free agents in the 2022 class, though Wall intends to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers upon clearing waivers.
The Rockets paid a healthy Wall $44.3 million to sit on the bench for the entirety of the 2021-22 season. Wall has played less than half a season since the 2018 calendar year.
Wall, a former No. 1 overall draft pick of the Washington Wizards, is a career 43.1% shooter and 32.3% from 3-point range. Over 613 regular season games in his career, he averaged 19.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game.
Wall has been working out in recent weeks, including some sessions at the University of Miami.
Wall did not appear in any games for Houston this past season. The Rockets are rebuilding around a young core, and Wall – who will turn 32 in September – wasn’t going to be in their plans going forward.
He was selected for the All-Star Game in five consecutive seasons from 2014 through 2018. Since the last of those selections 4 1/2 seasons ago, he has played in exactly 82 games, including playoffs – the equivalent of one NBA season – while making $150 million in salary and seeing his career derailed by injuries.
Wall has a drawn-out injury and surgical history. He underwent surgeries on both knees in 2016, had his 2018-19 season end prematurely because of surgery for bone spurs in his left heel, then a tear of his left Achilles tendon necessitated another operation in 2019 and a yearlong recovery plan.
He has not appeared in an NBA game since April 23, 2021.
The development of Wall and the Rockets striking a buyout deal comes on the same day that another high-profile point guard – Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving – announced that he is exercising his $36.9 million option for the final year of his deal with the Nets.
NBA free agency officially opens with the start of negotiating windows on Thursday. In most cases, new contracts can be signed starting July 6.