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Report: John Wall joining Clippers after sacrificing $6.5M in Rockets buyout

John Wall in Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 23: John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets dribbles against Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the third quarter at Toyota Center on April 23, 2021 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images )

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John Wall – despite displeasure sitting out last season with the Rockets – secured the last ginormous payday of his career by exercising his $47,366,760 player option with Houston for next season.

Now, he’s securing his path to a more-desirable team – the Clippers – by taking a buyout.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers can pay Wall the taxpayer mid-level exception, which projects to be worth about $6.5 million. His minimum salary projects to be nearly $3 million and might be suitable. But the MLE projection lines up too perfectly with the reported buyout amount to predict Wall will get any less.

Wall could start at point guard in L.A. The 31-year-old should be fresh after missing all of last season. He played alright the season prior, but that was merely relative to rock-bottom expectations. Injuries have derailed Wall’s career. He’s nowhere near the star he once was with the Wizards.

The Clippers just don’t have much depth at point guard. Interestingly, Wall will compete for minutes with Reggie Jackson. In 2015, Wall – whose max salaries became antiquated as the salary cap skyrocketed under new national TV deals – publicly bemoaned getting paid the same amount as Jackson.

Wall certainly came out ahead with his super-max extension from Washington. That deal locked him into Houston longer than he wanted, but now, Wall will get approximately all his money and get to pick his team.

The Rockets certainly scoured the trade market before locking into a cap hit that’ll be a more than $40 million unmovable impediment. But it’s tough to match such a high salary in a trade. The Lakers aren’t trading a first-round pick to unload Russell Westbrook. Houston is probably better off getting $6.5 million in savings rather than waiting until the February deadline for a viable trade that’s unlikely ever to emerge.

As far as the tampering aspect… No, free agency doesn’t open until Thursday. But Wall isn’t a typical free agent. He’s entering the market by getting waived – not his contract expiring. Teams discussing a buyout with a player commonly let him explore the market to determine his value and how much he’d be willing to sacrifice. The NBA is unpredictable in enforcing tampering. But Wall’s agreement with the Clippers isn’t necessarily a violation.

Wall was also connected to the Heat, Lakers and Wizards. Those teams will have to look elsewhere for point guards – likely with a little more respect paid to free agency officially beginning.