Most Lakers fans would agree that the Russell Westbrook trade has been nothing short of a bust this season. If that move is seen as a bust, I wonder what a trade for Rockets guard John Wall would be deemed? NBA Insider Marc Stein reports that the Rockets would be interested in bringing Westbrook back to Houston in exchange for Wall along with draft compensation.
History would certainly be repeating itself if this happens and it didn’t work the last time. The same two players were just traded for each other last season. Wall went to Houston sending Westbrook to Washington D.C. The only thing that really worked about the trade was the money since both players make over $40 million per year. Russ finished the year with the Wizards making the playoffs and was then traded this past offseason to LA. Wall played in 40 games for Houston last year and hasn’t touched the court since.
Of all the trade rumors floating around near the deadline, this one makes the least sense of all. For Los Angeles, this would be like essentially trading for the same player. Westbrook’s and Wall’s styles have always seemed to parallel one another, minus the triple-doubles for Wall. Both players initially made a name for themselves based on their super athleticism, speed, and quickness. But Wall hasn’t played a game this year in Houston and missed the better part of the previous two seasons as well.
Neither player has ever been considered a good shooter, both shooting it around 43 percent from the field over their respective careers. Wall is a career 32.3 percent shooter from 3-point range while Westbrook shoots it at 30.5 percent. Both are in the 78-percent range as free-throw shooters, and have PER ratings that are also close at 19.2 (Wall) and 22.8 (Westbrook).
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I’m sure the Rockets are likely more interested in any potential draft picks that could come along with taking Russ off the Lakers’ hands. The Rockets are supposed to be rebuilding, so I’d be shocked if this trade happened, and Westbrook actually played another game in a Rockets uniform. You’d figure Westbrook would be headed straight to the buyout market were this transaction to occur.
One benefit for the Lakers would be the fact that Wall should be incredibly fresh, having not played at all this season. The only thing there’d be to question is how much productive basketball he has left. Wall is almost a full two years (31) younger than Westbrook. If the Lakers actually consider this trade, that should convince us all of just how bad it’s gotten in L.A. with Westbrook. At least Russ has been on the court. The Lakers don’t know what they will get with Wall returning to the court on their watch.
And for the Rockets, to be willing to swap Wall for Westbrook shows me how desperate they are to begin a proper rebuild with all young players on much smaller contracts than either of these veterans. Again, I just don’t see Westbrook going back to Houston and playing. I think a buyout would be imminent almost immediately following this potential trade. I understand the Lakers are in a position where they’re looking for any solution to help save their season. But I don’t think this deal would move the needle either way into the positive or negative. Should this happen, it will probably leave the Lakers where they’ve been all year, right in the middle of the pack.