Rockets point guard John Wall is finally entering the last year of the mammoth deal he signed with the Wizards a half-decade ago, and a buyout is pending after no trade materialized at the draft last week. Per Marc Stein (formerly of ESPN), the Clippers are among the top teams interested in John Wall if a buyout does occur.
John Wall does make some sense to the Clippers on a buyout. They only have two point guards on their roster, with one being Jason Preston, who has played zero NBA games. Wall is a five-time All Star who is just 31 years old, and would add experience and playmaking to the Clippers’ backcourt. He’s not nearly as explosive as he was in his prime on the Wizards, but in his last season in 2021 he still averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists while getting to the line 5.3 times per game. There’s no doubt he can still score and playmake for others, at least to some extent.
The fit isn’t all sunshine and roses. While Wall is a competent off-ball three-point shooter, he’s played with the ball in his hands for his entire career (his entire life, really), and is not an ideal off-ball player. On the Clippers, he would be at very best, even if he looked good, the third option behind Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Wall was notorious for not doing much off-ball in DC, and that would not be a good fit in LA.
However, the Clippers would presumably be getting Wall not to start, but to play behind Reggie Jackson as a turbo backup. He can juice up the bench offense when Kawhi and PG are out of the game, and would bring some much needed athleticism and downhill attacking to the Clippers’ offense. On defense, prime Wall was a terror, and in a more limited role maybe he could regain his positive impact on defense. Now, Wall refused to come off the bench for the Rockets, but doing that for a young and terrible Rockets tam is different than for a championship contending Clippers squad.
John Wall would be a nice pickup for the Clippers on a buyout, especially on a minimum deal. Signing him for the tax payer mid level could complicate their ability to bring back Isaiah Hartenstein, which is a priority, but if they have another strong backup in mind even that path could work out.