It’s obvious why teams have been intrigued with Wood in the past. He’s a unicorn of a big man. That interest hasn’t waned, even in the early weeks of the offseason, sources told The Athletic. Wood is talented enough to where the Rockets can’t let him walk without getting assets back if their tenure is headed for an ending.
But if there is a shred of doubt in Houston’s mind — whether it’s from Wood, the coaching staff or the front office — about long-term prospects, the clock is ticking. Wood is no stranger to hearing his name involved in trade rumors. “I just continue to play my game,” Wood told me that month. “Continue to hoop. If anything, it’s motivation. I know all 30 teams are watching, regardless if I’m in a trade talk or not. Just motivation to keep going. It gives me a little extra step when I step on the floor.”
Ben DuBose: Even though (Wood) is still young in the grand scheme, in his mid to late 20s, he’s not in alignment with your young core, which is all closer to 21. I can see, for a lot of reasons, this is the time they look to move Wood. I’ve talked to people around the league, and the general sense I get is that with some of the off-the-court concerns that exist regarding his attitude, people think he would be a better fit in a contender’s locker room where there’s a clear veteran star in place.
"They are the best in the league at lining up for a big move," a Western Conference executive added. If that dream target never materializes, league personnel likewise expect any smaller trade this offseason aimed at further upgrading its championship-caliber roster would likely involve Duncan Robinson. Miami has hopes of adding a further frontcourt presence alongside Adebayo, sources said, and has shown known interest in Christian Wood and PJ Washington. With the strong play of Gabe Vincent and Max Strus—shooting 38 percent and 40.4 percent from deep, respectively—the league's shrewdest team strategists have come to view Robinson as expendable. Miami already gauged his value with several front offices before the February deadline, sources said, although no talks were considered serious.
As it turns out, fans are going to be a lot more disappointed given the recent report that the Lakers were working on a monster deal that would have sent Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and a future first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for John Wall and Christian Wood.
Christian Wood, who also has another season left on his contract, seemed more concerned about the potential to be dealt. He is not an easy fit for as many teams as Gordon, with some considering him a center, others a power forward. Gordon can effectively defend a greater variety of positions and excel on or off the ball. But Wood, 26, is the Rockets’ leading scorer and rebounder and just entering his prime. “I try not to think about it,” he said. “I’ve been seeing it. We’re all human. I’ve gone on Bleacher Report or Hoopshype and see my name. I don’t really think too much about it.
Wood has been involved in only one trade, but that was his choice when he was a Pistons free agent and the Rockets sealed the deal with a sign-and-trade agreement greater than the midlevel exception contract they could have offered without the agreement with the Pistons. “Other than that, I’ve never been in a real trade,” Wood said. “This is my first year being in trade rumors. I’m not really a fan of it. I don’t want it anymore. This is my home. This is where I want to be. I’ve told (Stephen) Silas and Tilman (Fertitta) and Pat (Fertitta) and Raf (Stone), and they have the same feeling about me.”
Sources tell Heavy.com that among the ideas floated has been a deal centering on Rocket big man Christian Wood and Miami shooter Duncan Robinson. Involved people have downplayed there being anything substantive, and there would clearly be other moving parts involved. But others are saying there is at least some basketball sense to the talk. “I’ve got to think Houston wants more,” said one NBA GM. “And with the way they’ve been approaching things these last few weeks, I’d go as far as to say that’s for sure.
“Houston’s really been over-valuing Woods and Eric Gordon. They think they’re going to get back a major piece, but they’re unrealistic with their expectations. I’ve looked around the league at what they’re putting out there — and I know they have, too. And no one is willing to give up a cornerstone player.”
Two years ago, Robinson shot 46.6% when opponents were four feet or more away from him on 3-pointers, according to NBA.com stats. That is down to 39.5% this year. But while one league source said Miami wouldn’t feel bad about getting more shots for Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, a Heat source said the important factor with Robinson is that he gives Butler and Bam Adebayo more room to operate.
The same can be said of starting center Christian Wood. The 26-year-old has been subject to interest around the league, and sources say Miami has been one of the more persistent teams in engaging with Houston on the versatile big man. But barring a blow-me-away offer, Wood should remain in Houston past the deadline, sources tell The Athletic. He’s averaging 17.5 points and a career-best 10.3 rebounds per game.
Houston, obviously, is going to take calls on Eric Gordon and Christian Wood (it’ll take calls on John Wall, too, if only another team would make one). However, there’s no hurry since both are signed through next season. I badly want the center-less Hornets to take a run at Wood, although generating a matching salary could get tricky; Charlotte does have a lottery-protected future first from New Orleans to sweeten a deal.
Veterans D.J. Augustin, Danuel House Jr., Daniel Theis and Eric Gordon are all viewed around the league as viable trade candidates. Houston appears willing to listen to offers on Christian Wood, but that would require a first-round pick plus further capital.
Tim MacMahon on Christian Wood: The sense that I get is by no means are the Rockets looking to move him. Certainly there's potential for him to be in his prime when the young guys grow up, and maybe the Rockets are ready to be competitive again. But they're willing to listen and I think that you know, aside from Jalen Green, the Rockets should be willing to listen to every single guy on the roster.
With the Rockets focusing on developing young players, rival executives wonder how long it’ll be until Houston moves veterans, paving the way for Sengun to play more. 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.
Mark Berman: Christian Wood (@Christian Wood) on being about as untouchable as a player can be at the trade deadline after being with six NBA teams in five years: “That’s crazy that actually you say that. I think this is my first time that you’re mentioning me being untouchable.” pic.twitter.com/f260dmcxRr
The Rockets of course have zero interest in dealing or even soliciting offers on Christian Wood. They will want to hang on to Jae’Sean Tate, who is reliably productive and defensively versatile at an inexpensive price.
Mark Berman: #Rockets make it official: acquired free agent forward/center Christian Wood from Detroit as part of a sign-and-trade. The Rockets traded forward Trevor Ariza, the rights to Isaiah Stewart (16th pick in 2020 NBA Draft), a future Houston second round pick, and cash... pic.twitter.com/zFnH6tVkQ2
James Edwards III: Wood is being added into the Ariza deal from draft night, per sources. That deal had not been made official yet.
The source said Kennard was never made available by Detroit, either, adding that he is the Pistons’ top asset, so the Pistons would need to be “blown away” by an offer for a player who would simply be added to Boston’s bench corps. According to the source, the Celtics were pursuing slightly lower-cost options, like Pistons big man Christian Wood, but nothing materialized.
James Edwards III: The #Celtics made an offer for the #Pistons’ Christian Wood. Detroit wasn’t interested in that offer, per a source.
Teams have inquired with the Pistons about both Christian Wood -- a free agent this summer -- and Svi Mykhailiuk, sources say. Given Wood's free agency, the Pistons might engage on that front. I'd be surprised if they dealt Mykhailiuk for future assets. Detroit is thin in young perimeter talent, and Mykhailiuk -- shooting 43% from deep this season on heavy volume -- has been a pleasant surprise. Detroit holds a small team option on him for next season. The Pistons should keep him.
League sources said Thon Maker, who makes $2.8 million this season, D.J. Wilson, who makes $2.5 million, or Christian Wood, who makes $1.5 million. would be potential candidates in a Korver-Dellavedova deal. Like Dellavedova, Maker, Wilson and Wood are buried on the Bucks’ depth chart. The Bucks aren’t the only team interested in Korver’s services. Sources said Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles Lakers are also among the Korver suitors.
June 26, 2022 | 6:52 am EDT Update
Not much of Murdock’s take was optimistic if you’re a Nets fan. Indeed, he referred to the franchise’s current situation as “destruction” in the podcast and suggested perhaps more firmly than other pundits that Durant could indeed leave. “The vision is on the verge of crumbling,” he wrote. “It didn’t have to be this way,” he said, summing up. “This team … and it’s ironic. Kevin came to reconcile relationships, build relationships with his BFF’s and it’s not working out. It’s doing the exact opposite. And you juxtapose that with Golden State winning…” “Now, you have reports that Kyrie is looking elsewhere. I made some calls. Kevin Durant has not talked to the team in weeks. I don’t think Kevin is confident in the front office right now. I don’t know if he’s at the stage of leaving but there’s a big uneasiness from not only from the Kyrie side, but the KD side as well.”
And Murdock reiterated reports that Durant, who had in the past recruited free agents, is not doing that now. “At least right now, he’s one of those guys who doesn’t want to recruit, isn’t in the position to recruit or doesn’t feel like he is a position to recruit whether you like that or not.
At the center of it, Murdock pointed out multiple times is the Nets relationship with Irving. “His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that ‘hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.’”
Still, Durant believes the Nets didn’t support Irving particularly when they decided not to play him at all in October, after he refused to get vaccinated like all but a handful of NBA players, then brought him back in October. “That’s just how he feels. ‘Hey man, I brought this guy in, him and Kyrie, and the front office didn’t do enough to support him at a time when we needed to support him.”
Moreover, Murdock pointed to the Nets decision to dump Adam Harrington, their long-time assistant coach and director of development, as a big negative for KD. Durant and Harrington go back to KD’s time in Oklahoma City when Harrington was his shooting coach. “And here’s another thing, KOC, the Nets got rid of Adam Harrington. who’s very close to Kevin. He’s one of Kevin’s guys. And that had a big ripple effect on how Kevin feels about this right now. He’s still in this figure-it-out mode but there is some fire to that smoke that he’s kind of reevaluating where he stands with this.”
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving won a ring together before, and it may not have been their last … ’cause Matt Barnes tells TMZ Sports the Lakers could be smelling champagne if Kyrie Irving joins L.A. Matt — who played for the Purple and Gold for two seasons — spoke about the recent Irving rumors out at LAX this week … and he told us if Uncle Drew ends up with the Lakers, it could result in the franchise’s 18th championship.
The Hawks could still pursue Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency. Sources tell The Athletic that the Hawks’ interest in the 23-year-old would be contingent on landing him for less than a max contract. That may not be an option, as the Pistons, who have the cap space for a max contract, are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Ayton in free agency.