USATSI 11578279 168388689 lowres

John Wall, Russell Westbrook swap teams in blockbuster trade

The Washington Wizards attempted to cover up the fact that they didn’t intend to trade veteran guard John Wall for weeks now. Meanwhile, Wall wasn’t opposed to the idea of getting a fresh start elsewhere.

Wall, a former first-overall pick with the Wizards back in 2010, served his time in D.C. well. Since getting drafted, he’s been named an All-Star five times and has helped lead the Wizards to the playoffs four times in nine seasons despite having little help around him outside of Bradley Beal.

It’s unfortunate Wall won’t have the opportunity to wrap his career up with the team that drafted him, but sometimes a fresh start is best. Speaking of fresh starts, Russell Westbrook gets himself another one for the second time in two years.

Just last offseason, Westbrook was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets. As the Thunder looked to begin a rebuild — getting rid of the face of the franchise made a ton of sense.

Westbrook planned to help James Harden and the Rockets compete in the tough Western Conference, but they fell flat in the second-round of the playoffs when they faced the eventual NBA Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now, it seems Houston is headed towards an unwanted rebuild as Westbrook and Harden demanded trades behind the scenes. Houston has made it clear they plan to keep Harden — but Westbrook was being actively shopped over the last few weeks.

The Charlotte Hornets and the New York Knicks inquired. Both teams, however, didn’t want to overpay for the 32-year-old guard, whose best days are behind him. It took longer than expected for a team to finally bite, but the Wizards finalized a deal with the Rockets by sending Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick in exchange for the nine-time All-Star, according to ESPN.

Will the deal dramatically benefit each team? Only time will tell. But offering both Wall and Westbrook an opportunity to get fresh starts elsewhere was the right idea by the Wizards and the Rockets.