After agreeing to a buyout with the Houston Rockets, guard John Wall plans to sign a free-agent deal with the LA Clippers, sources told ESPN on Monday.
Wall, who was due $47.4 million from the Rockets after exercising the player option for the final year of his contract, agreed to take $6.5 million less to become a free agent, a source told ESPN. That is roughly the amount of the taxpayer midlevel exception, which Wall could receive once he is able to negotiate a deal with the Clippers.
The Rockets wanted to reach an agreement with Wall before free agency begins Thursday to maximize his options in selecting his next team, sources said.
The Rockets and Wall, 31, reached a mutual decision for the veteran guard not to play last season with Houston in the early stages of a rebuild. The Rockets instead prioritized the development of young guards Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green, so Wall did not fit in the franchise’s plans despite his $44.3 million salary.
Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in 40 games for the Rockets in 2020-21, proving he still could perform at a high level after missing the previous season and a half because of heel surgery and a torn Achilles tendon. He spent parts of last season with the Rockets, participating in practices and sitting on the bench during games, and trained on his own in Miami the rest of the time.
Wall was traded to Houston along with a future first-round pick for Russell Westbrook in December 2020 after spending the first 11 years of his career with the Washington Wizards, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft. The Rockets considered themselves contenders at the time, but the franchise drastically changed directions when former MVP James Harden forced a trade early in the 2020-21 season.
Wall, who has career averages of 19.1 points and 9.1 assists, would fill the Clippers’ need for a playmaker on a team that has championship aspirations, with Kawhi Leonard returning after missing the 2021-22 season while recovering from a partially torn ACL in his right knee. Reggie Jackson averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists as LA’s starting point guard last season, when the Clippers went 42-40 and were eliminated in a play-in game.