John Wall and the Houston Rockets have agreed that his contract will be bought out, a move that will free him to sign with any team of his choosing, two people with knowledge of the situation said Monday night.
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.
Wall will receive roughly $41 million from Houston, according to the other person who spoke with AP. Wall was scheduled to make $47.4 million this coming 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 intends to join the Clippers, presumably for the taxpayer mid-level exception of about $6.4 million — basically the same amount he's giving back to the Rockets to become a free agent. No agreement can be struck between Wall and any team until he clears waivers and becomes a free agent.
Wall has been working out in recent weeks, including some 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 and, for his career, has averaged 19.1 points and 9.1 assists in 613 regular season games.
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 lengthy 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.
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Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press