NBA rumors: Christian Wood to Houston?

More on Christian Wood Free Agency

Bobby Marks: Detroit will see their $30M in cap space sliced in half with the Ariza and pick 16 addition. Pistons can certainly use remaining room and bring back Christian Wood.
League sources expect Wood to draw interest from both young teams pushing for a playoff appearance and veteran teams with championship hopes. Why wouldn’t, say, the Suns like to pair him with Deandre Ayton? Wood can handle the perimeter responsibilities, while Ayton can take on the beefy matchups against bigs like Jokic.
fore the trade deadline, league sources said that the Celtics and Rockets inquired about dealing for Wood. No agreement was reached, but it’s worth noting those discussions as an indicator of a potential free agent pursuit.
Some executives still worry Wood will revert to bad habits after receiving a large contract. We’ve seen it happen before with bigs over the years, like Hassan Whiteside and Mark Blount. It’s an understandable concern with so much at stake, especially when playoff basketball requires all five players to defend on a string, and Wood still has some ups and downs.
Wood went undrafted in 2015, struggled his first two years, and then signed with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Fujian Sturgeons in 2017 because NBA opportunities were dwindling. Before he even played a game in China, he got cut. “I was stuck. I was lost. I didn’t even think I was gonna get a job,” Wood told me last month. But it was the kick he needed to start locking in on defense, making smart decisions, and playing within the flow of the offense. First he did it in the G League, and then in the NBA. “Once I got cut from China, that’s when everything clicked for me,” Wood said. “That’s when I knew I had to turn the tables, show up every night, and be a whole different type of player than anybody said I was.”
As we get closer to free agency, teams monitoring the power forward market believe that Christian Wood remains on the Knicks’ radar. One team with interest in Wood expects the 25-year-old to be a top target for New York this offseason.
Everything I’ve heard is that the Pistons like Wood. They haven’t said anything publicly, and I don’t know if that’s out of fear of tampering or mind games, but he does seem to have supporters in the front office. As for the team’s plan for Wood, I’m not sure. If I were Detroit, my first priority would be signing him. There’s a good chance he might not be there when you circle back. Charlotte seems like a great fit. The Knicks seem like an OK fit. Don’t forget about the Suns, either.
Keep an eye on Christian Wood. Wood went undrafted in 2015 and became a journeyman, signing six different contracts, getting claimed off waivers twice and eventually finding a role with the Pistons. The 6-foot-10 Wood is only 25. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan and is coming off a career year in which he averaged 13 points, 6.2 rebounds and 21 minutes. In the nine games after the All-Star break, Wood averaged 24 points and 9.6 rebounds while converting 38.9% from 3. The market for the versatile big man projects to be at the $9.3 million midlevel exception.
Hey James, thanks for doing this. What do you think the chances of Wood coming back are? Thanks for joining! And if I had to guess, I’d say 70 percent. He does like it here and Detroit has the situation and money.
First, we start with Christian Wood, a soon-to-be 25-year-old unrestricted free agent who broke onto the scene this season. Since Detroit owns his “Early Bird” rights, signing him for roughly $9 million or $10 million would count only $1.7 million against the cap. That’d be a huge win for the Pistons. However, many people I’ve talked to believe Wood will get more in free agency, maybe even up to $16 million per year, which, if the Pistons set or matched, would all go toward the cap, leaving them with about $17 million left to play with. But for this exercise, let’s slot Wood in for $12 million per year. Not many teams have cap space, especially with a shrinking cap.
Down the stretch, one talent evaluator thought Wood played at an All-Star level. But another team executive cautioned, “He’s been with five teams — he’s not a slam dunk.’’ The Knicks are looking for a power forward who can shoot from mid-range and the 3-point line with the likely departure of Bobby Portis. Wood shot 56.7 percent from the field — and 38.6 from 3. Wood earned $1.6 million this season. Even with the major salary-cap reduction, Wood could earn five, six times that next season. However be warned: The intel coming out of UNLV in 2015 was not stellar, according to sources.
If the Knicks decide to look for a forward via free agency who can shoot, Danilo Gallinari, Carmelo Anthony and Christian Wood are potential options. Some members of the Knicks front office were enamored with Wood over the course of the season. Regarding Anthony, prior to free agency last summer, the Knicks strongly considered signing the ex-Knick if they were able to land two other stars. They missed out on the stars in free agency, which took Anthony out of their plans. Rose, the current team president, was Anthony's agent. The two remain close. Worth pointing out: the Knicks being open to looking for a big who can shoot doesn't necessarily reflect a desire to move on from Randle.
A source told The Athletic at the trade deadline that the Celtics inquired about Wood on more than one occasion. So, yeah, there’s interest on Boston’s end. Realistically, given the likely change to the NBA’s salary cap and the Celtics’ current financial situation, the only way they’d be able to land Wood in the open market is if Enes Kanter and/or Gordon Hayward opt out of their combined $39 million player options. It’s unlikely that Boston will have the full mid-level exception to use.
With that said, let’s say a team like the Knicks, which could have $46 million in cap space this offseason, offers Wood $15 million per year. New York, at that point, would likely force Detroit to offer at least that much. Where the Pistons would have an edge in negotiations, though, is in their ability to offer more years, a trade kicker, player option, etc. However, if/once Wood’s annual salary exceeds the league average, Detroit no longer sees that sweet $1.7 million cap hold if it brings Wood back. He would be signed using cap space at that point.
Christian Wood. Contract status: Free agent after the summer. Odds he returns: 70 percent. Analysis: We’ve talked a lot about why Wood is likely in line for a big pay raise, so we won’t spend much time on that. He’s a modern-day big who can put the ball on the floor and shoot from distance. You rebuild to get a player like the 24-year-old Wood in your system, and I think Detroit will do everything it can within reasonable parameters to keep Wood around. The Pistons, with Wood’s “Early Bird” rights, have leverage. But with a thinner free agency class and other bottom-feeder teams having cap space, I could see another team making Detroit sweat by throwing a significant contract at Wood.
Advanced metrics rated Wood as a top-10 center in 2019-20. Past performance doesn’t predict future results and the market for bigs, in general, will be tepid this offseason, but Wood should be a target for any team looking for a starting-caliber big. Detroit certainly will be among them, and has an advantage. His low cap hold (a paltry $1.7M) can allow the Pistons to use the rest of their projected $35M in room on other players before coming back to the trough for Wood. However, he is an Early Bird free agent, meaning that for dollar amounts above the league average salary (roughly $10M), the Pistons have to dig into their cap space to re-sign him.
Wood is an intriguing free agent this summer. Some potential suitors worry he is caught between positions on defense. He's undersized against some centers -- Wood knows he has to get stronger -- and untested as a paint quarterback. (He has looked better at times switching onto guards instead of hanging near the rim.) Chasing stretchier power forwards is a tall order. Wood plans to work on his off-ball defense over the summer, he said.
“He’s had a great year, for sure, but not sure everyone fully trusts it yet,” a league source told The Athletic. “It’s been the most consistent he’s shown his whole career. I think, maybe, $5 (million) to $7 million per year (is what he’ll get).” Then there’s this evaluation … “I would expect him to get a mid-level value, something like $9.7 (million) annually,” an NBA agent said.
Wood has impressed all year, as a bench man and even as a starter. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer after playing this season on a vet-minimum deal. At the trade deadline, the Rockets and Celtics, two championship-contending teams, made multiple offers to Detroit for Wood, per a source. The 2020 free agency class is considered blah, so don’t be surprised if Wood garners interest from teams with available cap space.
Chris Haynes: Detroit Pistons intend to award forward Christian Wood with a regular season roster spot for his strong preseason play but the organization has some roster maneuvering to do, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Rod Beard: #Pistons officially announce adding Christian Wood off waivers. He slides nicely into a role of backup center, adding variety to the group of Blake Griffin, Markieff Morris and Thon Maker as options behind Andre Drummond.
New Orleans also is, for now, without UNLV product Christian Wood as well. Vinson said management and Wood’s agent had something to work out, but wouldn’t elaborate. No Williamson and no Wood means more opportunities for other players. “They’re not just playing for the New Orleans Pelicans,” Vinson said. “There are 29 other teams here, so they’re being watched by all.”
Scott Kushner: Source confirms Christian Wood signed for remainder of the season. He has no guaranteed money for next season. The Pelicans waived Jason Smith in corresponding roster move.
Marc J. Spears: Wouldn’t be surprised if free agent to be forward Christian Wood is claimed after being waived by the Bucks. Wood averaged 29.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 blocks for G-League Wisconsin. He would not be playoff eligible, but could be a solid pickup for the future.
The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free agents Tim Frazier, Shabazz Muhammad and Christian Wood to complete their 20-man roster for training camp, which tips-off on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center.
Shams Charania: Sources: Forward Christian Wood has agreed to a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. Wood played for Bucks in Las Vegas summer league, where he was part of all-first team.
Matt Velazquez: I hear there are multiple teams interested in Christian Wood & a deal may not be far off. However, Milwaukee is not one of those teams. Will be interesting to see who signs him/what he gets. Note: Since they're over the cap, Bucks can only offer minimum deal or portion of MLE.
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: Charlotte free-agent forward Christian Wood has signed with Fujian in China.
Bobby Marks: Declining the Wood option opens up a roster spot but has no impact on the cap based on the Hornets $102m (at the cap) in guaranteed salary.
Shams Charania: Wood starred for Philadelphia's summer league team in Utah and Las Vegas. His second year of Hornets deal will be team option, sources say.
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March 1, 2021 | 9:24 am EST Update
Horton-Tucker is another player who could have an intriguing free agency next summer. He is averaging just 6.7 points and 2.5 assists, but teams are watching him with interest. The second-year wing will be an early Bird restricted free agent, which limits the type of offers he can receive and gives the Lakers the ability to match, but that doesn’t mean doing so will be easy. “He’s a gifted defender with great length and great upside who’s just 20 years old. In this market, that’s exactly the type of player you want to chase,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “There could be a few teams who put them to the test and give [Horton-Tucker] an offer sheet thinking they could pry him away.”
Keeping Caruso, Horton-Tucker, Schroder and Harrell at their potential market values could push the Lakers’ payroll to $150 million. (Gasol’s $2.7 million salary is already guaranteed.) That’s without filling out the roster with other veterans or retaining Morris or Matthews. Once that is done, even with just minimum salaries, the Lakers could be looking at a base payroll of around $170 million to keep the team intact. Add in more than $100 million in luxury taxes and their commitments for next season would land between $250 million and $270 million.
“It’s a proud organization — I was here during the ’90s — but that has nothing to do with today,” he said. “Just like I don’t want us looking ahead, I don’t want us looking behind and what happened in the past. It’s important to know the history of the organization, that part is important, but our focus has to be exactly on what’s in front of us and that’s each day, each game, each practice. Be ready to keep improving. We got a young team. We have a team that can grow.”
March 1, 2021 | 6:21 am EST Update

Buddy Hield mulling NBA 3-point shootout contest invite

That even goes for Buddy Hield, who has an NBA 3-point shootout title to defend, although he was non-committal about the even. “Do you think I should go defend it?” Hield asked reporters when talking about the event. “I don’t know yet, to be honest, I’ve been having mixed emotions, you know, cover rules and especially I don’t have no time with my family. Just trying to see how the COVID rules and the boundaries are set up. No clear cut yes yet, I’ll just see in the next couple of days.” According to Hield, he received an invitation from the league to join the festivities, but he is still mulling it over.
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“It was a play for me or P.J.,” Monk said. “I told [Ball] to pass it to P, and he was like, nah. I had to make something happen.” Hield, who finished with 30 points, missed a desperation heave from beyond midcourt as time ran out. Earlier Sunday night, he became the fastest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 career 3-pointers, doing so in his 350th career game. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was the previous fastest at 369 games.
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