In what may be the first domino to fall in the Lone Star State, the Houston Rockets have traded All-Star guard Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for former franchise staple John Wall and a first-round pick.
Westbrook, 32, came off a season where he played fairly well (27.2 pts, 7.9 reb, 7 ast) but was a liability come playoff time – a primary reason why the Los Angeles Lakers easily dispatched of them in the second round. He was also due $147 million over the next three seasons.
Earlier in the fall it had been reported that both Westbrook and franchise star James Harden had requested trades after losing their head coach (Mike D’Antoni) and general manager Daryl Morey and were concerned about the culture and ability to win going forward. The Westbrook-Wall deal had been discussed in the past weeks but remained dormant until earlier on Wednesday when the faework of the deal was agreed upon.
For Wall, this is a chance to start anew after a long but unfruitful career in Washington. Wall last played in the 2018-19 season, playing 32 games and averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 assists. Wall suffered a left Achilles tear and missed the remainder of that season and all of 2019-20 due to complications from surgery. Wall was part of a budding duo with Bradley Beal, but with Beal taking on the role as the face of the franchise, it made Washington’s decision to move on from Wall much easier.