There are a lot of teams looking for a center who plays like Christian Wood: 16.4 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, has to be respected from beyond the arc (33.3% on 4.5 attempts his season) and is a plus defender who can protect the rim some. All that on a reasonable $13.7 million contract this season and $14.3 million next season.
Rather than find someone like Wood, teams may try to get Wood himself out of Houston. The Rockets can expect trade offers, reports Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer.
There is an expectation around the NBA that Christian Wood, who’s in the second season of a three-year contract, will receive significant trade interest and that Houston will entertain offers. Wood is only 26, so Houston could keep him, but he’s no sure thing to stay come 2023; one of the reasons he signed with the Rockets over other interested teams was to play with James Harden, and Harden is long gone. Wood can offer a lot more to a team with playoff hopes than he can to the Rockets.
The Rockets are rebuilding — see the John Wall stalemate for a primer on the challenges that presents — and Wood is a guy who falls in the middle. He’s a good player and just 26, but if teams come at the Rockets offering good young players and/or a first-round pick (likely lottery protected), does Houston have to think about the long term and take it?
Wood may well be a Rocket all season long, but as we start to head into December and ramped up trade talks, his is a name to keep in mind. There are a lot of teams looking for an upgrade at the five, and Wood certainly will fit the bill.