An All-Star point guard is headed to Los Angeles and it's not Kyrie Irving to the Lakers. John Wall is linking up with the Clippers. Wall and the Houston Rockets have agreed on contract buyout and he will sign with the Clips once he clears waivers – and no one is picking up Wall and his $47.4 million contract on waivers. While the Clippers' NBA title odds have improved to where they are +700 third favorites at Caesars Sportsbook to win it all next season, the SportsLine Projection Model (see below) actually predicts that LA will be worse off with Wall.
The Clippers of course didn't have star Kawhi Leonard at all last season as he recovered from a knee injury suffered in the 2021 playoffs. Los Angeles still finished a respectable 42-40 and reached the Western Conference play-in tournament, losing to both Minnesota and New Orleans in it to be eliminated.
Wall, a former No. 1 overall pick by Washington and a five-time All-Star, was healthy last season but the Rockets didn't let him play as they focused on a youth movement. In 40 games for the Rockets in 2020-21, Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists. The 31-year-old is still a good player. To facilitate his way out of Houston, Wall reportedly agreed to take $6.5 million less to become a free agent. That is approximately the amount of the taxpayer midlevel exception, which Wall could receive once he is able to negotiate a deal with the Clippers.
There's no universe where Wall isn't an upgrade on current Clippers point guard Reggie Jackson, who isn't a true point guard anyways. Jackson will presumably come off the bench now as Wall has only been a non-starter 12 times in his NBA career, and not since becoming an All-Star in the 2012-13 season.
While sportsbooks haven't released 2022-23 NBA win totals yet and won't until after free agency has conculded, the SportsLine Projection Model forecasts the Clippers to drop from 54.6 wins without Wall to 50.7 with him, and their championship odds to fall from 10.11 percent to 5.11. Curious, to say the least.
At Caesars, the Clippers are now only behind Golden State (+550) and Boston (+600) to win the 2023 NBA title, jumping past Brooklyn (+750) and Milwaukee (+750). DraftKings actually has the Clippers as co-favorites with the Warriors at +550.
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