Report: Knicks could have interest in John Wall trade with Rockets

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Evan Massey of the NBA Analysis Network cites a former NBA executive as saying that the New York Knicks could have interest in trading for Houston Rockets star John Wall. A 6-foot-4 guard, Wall averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 steals in 32.2 minutes per game this season.

Now 30 years old and previously a five-time All-Star, Wall clearly isn’t a long-term fit with the rebuilding Rockets. However, due to Wall’s contract — which pays him over $44 million in 2021-22 and has a player option of more than $47 million for the 2022-23 season — it’s unclear whether there would be any takers in 2021, since two full years could be left.

Here’s what Massey quotes a former NBA executive as saying, with indications that a deal as soon as this offseason is possible:

The Knicks have some level of interest in John Wall. Houston would love to move him and get something of value for him. He isn’t a long-term fit for the Rockets, and if New York really wants him, they have the pieces to get a deal done. Wall isn’t their top priority this offseason, but he could be an excellent fallback option and the interest is there.

It’s worth noting that the Knicks could have significant cap space this offseason, which might make them more viable as a Wall destination, relative to many other teams. Based on that cap space, New York wouldn’t necessarily have to send out as many salaries to Houston to make a trade work under the collective bargaining agreement. For most teams, finding approximately $40 million in tradable salary is challenging.

Even so, the Knicks would likely have higher priorities for that cap space (as Massey’s report indicates) than a 30-year-old who missed nearly half of the 2020-21 season due to various injuries. But if New York strikes out on those initial plans, it’s possible that Wall could be viewed as a satisfactory Plan B. After all, while his contract is large in annual value, it’s not an especially long-term commitment. Moreover, after finally getting back to the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2021, the Knicks may prefer a veteran such as Wall who could help them remain competitive.

As for Massey and the report’s validity, it’s worth noting that just before the March 25 trade deadline, he reported that the Rockets and Heat were discussing a Victor Oladipo trade. Back then, any Oladipo rumors were few and far between in the hours leading up to the deadline. As it turned out, a Rockets-Heat deal for Oladipo did materialize.

That doesn’t mean that Massey’s report on Wall and the Knicks is necessarily accurate, but it does offer hope — since his connections have seemingly had credible information about the Rockets in the recent past.