John Wall and Clippers officially together.
The five-time All-Star point guard has agreed to a two-year, $13.2 million contract, his agency Klutch Sports announced Friday, a sum that is in line with the numbers for a complete mid-tier taxpayer exclusion.
Wall, 31, hasn’t played in the NBA for 14 months because the point guard, one of the league’s most dynamic stars due to his dazzling forward heel speed and Achilles tendon injuries, not suitable plans for the Houston Rockets to rebuild from scratch. Last season, the Rockets paid Wall $44 million to not play a second. After Wall and the Rockets agreed to a buyout that would see him return $6.5 million of the $47 million he is due this upcoming season, Wall had to relinquish the rights before he could negotiate with ” Clippers as an unrestricted free agent.
In a matter of days, Wall went from a team trying to lay the groundwork to a Clippers roster trying to finish next season at the top of the league.
In Wall’s last season, he shot 44% from the arc and 31.7% from 3-pointers, slightly below his career average. It was on the Rockets, where he was the de facto scorer. Team president Lawrence Frank has described positions in the modern NBA with descriptions such as “playing at the start” and “playing at the end”.
Surrounded by scorers such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Wall’s responsibility as a finishing player seemed to be reduced and his greatest strength was used as a starter. For a Clippers offense that can be slow and stagnant, Wall’s quickness to hit the paint matches coach Tyronne Liu’s offense. That speed also makes him dangerous in transition, where the Clippers didn’t always capitalize last season, ranking 21st in points per game with no losses and 17th in points per game during the transition.
In two seasons of Lue, the Clippers were successful, taking older players with declining records and resurrecting their careers dramatically, first with point guard Reggie Jackson and then with forward Nicholas Batum. Wall is the third such project that the team hopes will provide veterans with efficiency at a significant discount on their books.
With Wall’s signing, the Clippers now have 14 standard contracts and one more spot. They only have one traditional center on the list, 7-footer Ivica Zubac. Their handling of last season’s last spot – keeping it open for practice competitions between backup centers – could be a model for this time.