While it was largely assumed the Miami Heat would cap their roster with 14 players, as they did for the bulk of the 2020 NBA season, a new report reveals that the franchise is not just looking to add a 15th member, but have made a trade offer to obtain five-time All-Star John Wall.
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Sirius XM NBA reporter Mitch Lawrence tweeted on September 14, “The Rockets have been fielding offers for John Wall, including from the Clippers, Heat and Pistons, per sources.”
This news comes on the heels of ESPN‘s report that the Houston Rockets and John Wall have “agreed to work together in an attempt to find a trade destination for the veteran point guard,” but it’s a head-scratcher to learn the Heat made an offer for Wall, whose enormous contract would absolutely put Miami over the ominous luxury tax that they’ve been trying so hard to avoid.
The 31-year-old point guard is due $91.7 million over the next two seasons, including a player option for $47.4 million in 2022-23, which stems from the four-year $170 million he signed with the Wizards in 2017.
While the Kentucky alum averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists during his 40 appearances with the Rockets last season, it’s hard to pony up that kind of money for a player who’s always injured.
Wall, a former No. 1 overall pick, has only played 113 games over the past four seasons due to a string of serious injuries. He sat out for the entirety of the 2019-2020 season with the Washington Wizards due to an Achilles tendon tear.
Who Would Miami Have to Offer in a Trade for Wall?
In order to make room for Wall’s monster salary, the Heat would have to offer Houston some serious talent. “After taking a major PR hit for the James Harden trade, the Rockets aren’t rushing into any deal,” Lawrence tweeted. “One Houston exec: ‘We have to win this trade.'”
Miami wasn’t willing to offer Duncan Robinson nor Tyler Herro in a trade for then-Rockets All-Star James Harden, so it seems highly unlikely Heat president Pat Riley would change his stance on that situation for Wall.
Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman put it plainly when it comes to a possible trade between Wall and the Heat, “Can’t happen now. Won’t happen… while the Rockets have agreed that he would not play for them this season, his salary makes it practically impossible to move him.”
Without including Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo in a trade, which is definitely not going to happen, it’s also nearly impossible for the Heat to find a starting point for matching salaries. Unless Rockets buy out Wall’s contract, it seems unlikely he’ll be taking his talents to South Beach anytime soon.
Miami Is Already Cash-Strapped for the 2021-22 Season
While the Heat could sign one more player to a standard contract, a team can have 15 players on their active roster, it seems unlikely Miami will expand further if they want to stay below the luxury tax. As it stands, the Heat are “less than $1 million under the $137 million tax line and a bit over $6 million below the $143 million hard cap,” Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported.
If anyone could make an impossible trade possible, it would be Riley, but after landing Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, and Markieff Morris in free agency, resigning sharpshooter Duncan Robinson to a five-year, $90 million contract, and extending All-Star Jimmy Butler’s contract with a four-year, $184 million extension, it’s wondrous how any deal for Wall could work out.
“The Heat have a total cap allocations amount of $141,176,980,” Basketball Insiders James Foglio reported. “Their current luxury tax space is $436,554” while their hard-cap space is around $6.8 million.