John Wall is planning to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers once he clears waivers, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2022
Wall reached a buyout with the Houston Rockets in order to hit free agency. Wall had opted into his $47.4 million player option before the two sides agreed on a buyout. According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Wall gave back $6.5 million, a figure extremely close to the taxpayer mid-level exception, which the Clippers do possess. That figure checks in at $6.4 million.
There’s no telling what Wall has left in the tank. The five-time All-Star has only played in 40 games over the last three seasons, the byproduct of recovering from an Achilles injury and also sitting out the entire 2021-22 season as both the Rockets and Wall worked through a buyout stalemate. That has now been resolved.
If the Clippers and Wall agree to a contract that begins at the taxpayer mid-level exception, it means the Clippers would only have the ability to offer free agent Isaiah Hartenstein a minimum contract. Considering how instrumental Hartenstein was to the Clippers this season, this could create an issue and now leave the Clippers without a legitimate backup center.
The flip side of things is that if the Clippers do indeed give Wall the taxpayer mid-level exception, they would at least have an option of some sort on the second year since those contracts have to run for a minimum of two seasons. Whether that’s a player option or a fully guaranteed year would remain to be seen.
UPDATE #1: According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it appears that John Wall is slated to make the mid-level exception (emphasis mine):
Sources said Wall, who was due $47.4 million from the Rockets after exercising the player option last week for the final year of his contract, agreed to take $6.5 million less to become a free agent. That is roughly the amount of the taxpayer midlevel exception, which he is likely to sign for in free agency.
If that comes to fruition, the Clippers would only be armed with a minimum contract to offer Hartenstein or any other free agent that doesn’t possess some form of Bird rights.
This is an ongoing breaking news story and may be updated as more news breaks.