UTAH JAZZ

What Does Westbrook For Wall Trade Mean For Jazz?

Dec 2, 2020, 6:40 PM
Russell Westbrook shoots over John Wall (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)...
Russell Westbrook shoots over John Wall (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Even with training camps underway, there’s no shortage of drama in the NBA. On Wednesday, the Houston Rockets sent guard Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for guard John Wall and a first-round draft pick according to multiple outlets.

Westbrook spent just one season in Houston before being traded after playing 11 years with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook is a nine-time All-Star and was named the NBA MVP in 2017.

Meanwhile, Wall missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. The injury also forced him to miss much of the 2017-18 season, as the five-time All-Star hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since December 26, 2018.

The move is a unique trade as it sends the third highest-paid player in the NBA, Westbrook, to Washington for the league’s fourth highest-paid player, Wall.

It’s been a busy offseason for the Rockets who saw coach Mike D’Antoni leave his head coaching job for an assistant coaching position with the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets then released vice president of basketball operations Daryl Morey who now oversees the Philadelphia 76ers, before trading Westbrook.

Wall was rumored to have asked the Wizards for at trade in November before Wednesday’s deal was made.

What does the Westbrook for Wall Trade mean for the Jazz?

How the trade impacts the Jazz in the Western Conference will depend on a few yet to be determined details.

First, Wall must prove he’s fully healthy after being away from the league for two years. Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult for NBA players to return from, especially for a player who is as reliant on his raw speed as Wall is.

Wall posted a video to his Instagram page that appeared to show him moving well, but playing against NBA competition may tell a different story.

It might also be another sign of a total reconstruction of the Rockets roster, which could ultimately lead to a trade sending MVP guard James Harden elsewhere. Harden is reportedly interested in joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Nets, though it’s unclear if Brooklyn has the capital to acquire a player of Harden’s value.

When Wall was healthy, he helped lead the Wizards to the postseason in four of the five seasons prior to his injury, including three first-round series victories. If he can return to that level of play, the trade is a coup for the Rockets who also got a first-round draft pick in the deal.

That would give the Jazz another elite team in the West to contend with for playoff positioning come seasons end.

If Wall fails to regain his former stature, the Rockets will be on the hook for $132 million over the next three seasons, and the Jazz will have one fewer team to battle with for home-court advantage.

The NBA regular season is set to begin on December 22, with preseason games beginning on December 11.

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