Rockets trade rumors: John Wall buyout unlikely, Cavs interested in Eric Gordon

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Rockets trade rumors: John Wall buyout unlikely, Cavs interested in Eric Gordon
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With the Feb. 10 trade deadline for the 2021-22 season less than one month away, NBA trade talks are picking up. One of the few clear sellers is the Houston Rockets (12-31), who have the Western Conference’s worst record and are clearly building with an eye on future years.

For a young and rebuilding group like the Rockets, accomplished veterans like John Wall and Eric Gordon aren’t an ideal fit with the timeline of rookies like Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Josh Christopher.

Yet, contractual factors — particularly in the case of Wall, who is owed an average of more than $45 million per season for 2021-22 and 2022-23 — make a breakup to pull off than it might seem.

Per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, here’s where things stand with Houston’s 31- and 33-year-old guards, as of Thursday, Jan. 13:

John Wall seems entrenched in Houston with zero inclination to accept any type of buyout, sources said.

The Cavaliers don’t project to be very aggressive in the coming weeks, but they will explore avenues to move Ricky Rubio and a protected first-rounder in an effort to net backcourt reinforcements, such as Eric Gordon, following Rubio and Collin Sexton’s season-ending injuries.

With Wall, it sounds like more of the same. With Gordon, Cleveland’s apparent interest certainly can’t hurt Houston general manager Rafael Stone, in the sense that it might help create a bidding war. The presence of Rubio for salary matching purposes is quite helpful, since he’s out for the season with an injury but can still help to bridge the financial gap.

But with the proposed package, the pick protection could be an issue, since the Cavaliers (24-18) entered Thursday with only a one-game advantage over teams in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

For example, if the Cavs fell to play-in range and ultimately did not make the playoffs, what would happen to that pick? If it’s lottery protected, would it roll over to a future season, and what would the protections be, then? Or would it immediately become a second-round pick?

The interest certainly can’t hurt, but the devil is in the details, and whether Cleveland is the ideal Gordon suitor will likely depend on the pick protection terms that are offered to Stone and the Rockets.

Related

Analysis of Eric Gordon, Christian Wood trade proposals by ESPN’s Bobby Marks

Report: John Wall still unlikely to be traded or bought out by Rockets

List

Houston Rockets player salaries for 2021-22, future seasons