Most Lakers fans agree that the Russell Westbrook trade is nothing short of a bust this season. If that move is considered a failure, I wonder what a trade for Rockets guard John Wall would be? 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 surely repeat itself if this happened and it didn’t work last time. The same two players were just traded for each other last season. Wall went to Houston and sent Westbrook to Washington DC. The only thing that really worked for the trade was the money as both players make over $40 million a year. Russ finished the year with the Wizards making the playoffs and was then traded to LA last season. Wall played in 40 games for Houston last year and has not touched the court since.
Of all the trading rumors floating around the deadline, this one makes the least sense. For Los Angeles, this would be like trading for the same player. Westbrook and Wall’s styles always seemed to run parallel, minus the triple-doubles for Wall. Both players initially made a name for themselves based on their super athletic ability, speed and speed. But Wall didn’t play a game this year in Houston and also missed most of the previous two seasons.
Neither player has ever been considered a good marksman, both shooting it about 43 percent of the field over their respective careers. Wall shoots a 32.3 percent career from a 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 scores that are also close to 19.2 (Wall) and 22.8 (Westbrook).
I’m sure the Rockets are probably more interested in potential draft picks that could come with taking Russ off the hands of the Lakers. The Rockets were going to be rebuilt, so I’d be shocked if this trade happened and Westbrook actually played another game in a Rockets uniform. You would think Westbrook would go straight to the buyout market if this transaction happened.
One advantage for the Lakers would be that Wall should be incredibly fresh as he hasn’t played at all this season. The only thing you can doubt is how much productive basketball he has left. Wall is almost two years (31) younger than Westbrook. If the Lakers really consider this trade, it should convince all of us how bad things have gotten in LA with Westbrook. At least Russ has been on the field. The Lakers don’t know what they’ll get when Wall returns to the field under their care.
And for the Rockets, the willingness to trade Wall for Westbrook shows me how desperate they are to start a proper rebuild with all the young players on much smaller contracts than any of these veterans. Again, I just don’t see Westbrook going back to Houston to play. I think a buyout is imminent almost immediately after this potential trade. I understand that the Lakers are in a position to look for a solution to save their season. But I don’t think this deal would move the needle to the positive or the negative. If this happens, the Lakers will likely be left where they’ve been all year, right in the middle of the pack.