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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Ben DuBose

Rockets GM Rafael Stone still hopeful of John Wall trade, rather than buyout

Though Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone did not rule out recent speculation related to a John Wall contract buyout, he said Monday that he remains optimistic about an eventual trade.

Wall has not played since the 2020-21 season, with Houston choosing in 2021-22 to make Kevin Porter Jr. the full-time starter at point guard. Wall, a five-time All-Star, was reportedly reluctant to accept the type of bench role behind Porter that ultimately went to Dennis Schroder.

Since then, the Rockets have tried to trade Wall, but the enormous size of his contract makes that difficult. However, since Wall will be an expiring contract in 2022-23, that might change the calculus.

“Absolutely nothing has changed,” Stone said. “I love John. We’re going to work together, like we always have. I’m very appreciative of him.”

“I think there’s a real market for John,” added Stone, who spoke as part of an end-of-season media availability after Sunday’s season finale. “I think we’ll find a deal that will work for him and for us, and if one doesn’t materialize, we’ll cross that bridge if and when it occurs. But that is not something he’s focused on, and is not something I’m focused on.”

Stone’s comments are in line with a recent report by HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, who said Wall and his representation at Klutch Sports will initially give Houston an opportunity to find a trade. However, if that is unsuccessful, Wall’s camp could push for a buyout prior to next season.

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