The Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards made a massive trade this Wednesday night, exchanging two superstars, Russell Westbrook and John Wall.
It is a deal that was mentioned before, but didn’t have the media hype as some other possible trade options, especially in Westbrook’s case. Houston sent the former MVP in exchange for Wall and a lottery-protected first 2023 first-round pick.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the most prominent NBA insider, Houston’s and Washington’s GMs Tommy Shepard and Rafael Stone reestablished their talks this Wednesday. Within hours, they reached a deal that should be able to make positive changes in their respective organizations.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 3, 2020
Both Westbrook and Wall have been unhappy for various reasons, and the Rockets and the Wizards weren’t in the position to fulfill their requirements and needs.
Following the previous season’s ending, Westbrook stated that he wants to leave Houston after he and Harden failed to make a run at the title. Also, the Rockets’ head coach, Mike D’Antoni, didn’t sign a new contract, which was a signal for the 32-year old that he should search for some other destination to end his massive contract.
Westbrook was the seventh scorer in the 2019/20 year, averaging 27.2 points per game, 7.9 rebounds, and 7 assists, with 47.2% shooting from the field. Yet, his numbers during the offseason severely deteriorated, with the Rockets No.0 scoring 17.9 points with 42.1% from the floor.
Wall hasn’t played competitive basketball for two years following his tough Achilles and knee injuries. It appears that the Wizards weren’t seeing him as the focal point of the team in the future but Bradley Beal. Even though Wall recovered well, per several sources, regaining his explosiveness and quickness, the doubt among the fans still stayed, and apparently among some of the executives in DC.
In the meantime, there were many rumors and speculation about Beal’s desire to change the team, and trading Wall is a clear signal that Washington counts on him as a long-term leader and the franchise face.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 3, 2020
Wall was the Wizards’ top pick at the 2010 draft and was one of the best point guards in the league when healthy. If the rumors are true about his good recovery, he could be a nice addition to the Rockets’ game and the fast-paced offense this team fancies.
The experience with Westbrook wasn’t always great, with the triple-double machine putting his ego first in some cases, and wanting for the team to adjust his style of play, instead of vice versa. Wall, who needs games before and is eager to step on the court, will most definitely have a different approach, especially because he already played alongside a dominant shooter.
His experience with sharing the ball with another guard star should be an advantage over Westbrook.
On the other side, the Wizards get the MVP-caliber player and the second star near Beal, who led the team on his own for two years. Landing Westbrook is a move Washington craved for a long time, with them being a medium-market. If by any chance, things don’t work out well, they can always use him as an asset for some trade that would bring picks or some other additions.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.