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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.
Shams Charania: The Detroit Pistons have claimed forward Christian Wood off free agency waivers, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: Sources: New Orleans has waived forward Christian Wood.
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.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans has claimed Christian Wood off waivers, league source tells ESPN.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Pelicans have waived Jason Smith, claimed Christian Wood.
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.
Bobby Marks: Would expect teams to take a hard look at claiming Christian Wood. The center has a $1.6M non-guaranteed contract for 19-20 with protection increased to 50% if not waived by the reg. season. Available to be claimed by all 29 teams at good value.
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 need help at the guard position. Malcolm Brogdon, Donte DiVincenzo and Sterling Brown are all out with injuries and George Hill is still only playing limited minutes as he works back from a strained left adductor muscle. With that in mind, the Bucks made a difficult decision Monday, opting to waive forward Christian Wood to clear a roster spot to sign point guard Tim Frazier. Wood initially beat out Frazier for a spot in training camp, but with multiple forwards ahead of Wood in the lineup and a depleted corps of guards, the team had to make a move to balance its roster ahead of the playoffs.
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.
Alex Kennedy: The Toronto Raptors are working out free agent big men, including Thomas Robinson and Christian Wood, according to league sources.
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.
Tom Moore: The @Sevens have acquired Christian Wood. #Sixers
David ‘Dubi’ Pick: Source: Charlotte free-agent forward Christian Wood has signed with Fujian in China.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Charlotte has declined the team option on forward Christian Wood for the 2017-’18 season, making Wood an unrestricted free agent.
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.
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed forward Christian Wood. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Shams Charania: Free agent Christian Wood has agreed to a two-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets, league sources tell The Vertical.
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.
Tom Moore: #NBA source: #Sixers don’t extend qualifying offers to Isaiah Canaan or Christian Wood, making both unrestricted.
Shams Charania: 76ers and forward Christian Wood have reached agreement on deal for rest of the season, league sources tell The Vertical. No future years.
In a related move, the team has released Christian Wood.
Shams Charania: Philadelphia plans to claim guard Sonny Weems off waivers and release forward Christian Wood (on 10 day), league sources tell The Vertical.
The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that the team has called up forward Christian Wood from the Delaware 87ers and signed him to a 10-day contract.
Shams Charania: Philadelphia will sign forward Christian Wood of Delaware, sources tell The Vertical.
Jake Fischer: Christian Wood will be joining the Sixers on a 10-day contract, according to a league source.
Brian Seltzer: Delaware 87ers officially announce the team picked up Christian Wood by way of the in-season affiliate rule. Rysheed Jordan waived.
Shams Charania: Christian Wood has cleared free agency waivers and will be active for Delaware tonight at NBA D-League showcase, league sources tell Yahoo.
Adam Johnson: Upon clearing waivers, Christian Wood is expected to join the 87ers, league source tells D-League Digest.
In a related move, the Sixers waived forward Christian Wood.
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September 26, 2020 | 7:47 am EDT Update
Brian Windhorst: The Thunder are beginning to look at a rebuild, which is one of the reasons why Billy Donovan did not stay. So with the expectation this could be a first-time head coach. Some of the names that I’ve heard: David Vanterpool, who is an assistant with the Timberwolves. Adrian Griffin, who’s been a candidate for jobs over the years, recently with Toronto. And watch out for a sleeper candidate: Will Hardy, assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, a lot of people are very high on him.
Brian Windhorst on Rockets’ coaching search: Keep an eye on former Rocket, a guy who won a championship in Houston, Sam Cassell. And if not him, one of the favorites is our colleague here at ESPN, former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, in the mix for this job.
Fox is the team’s best chance to accomplish that goal, although McNair has to make a major commitment to the former Kentucky Wildcat this season. League sources have confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings, under previous management, already had a discussion with Fox’s representation on an extension. Depending on where the NBA’s final salary cap numbers come in, Fox is eligible for a five-year max money contract worth between $150-180 million. Don’t expect a discounted rate. He will ask for and likely get whatever the maximum is allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.
Ntilikina and Smith both are in the final years of their rookie contracts and haven’t lit the league on fire yet. They have vastly different styles. Ntilikina is a playmaker and defender, while Smith is a scorer and penetrator. Smith has even changed his jersey number to No. 4 — which he wore at North Carolina State. “We’re three days in, so I’m getting to know both guys,’’ Thibodeau said after the third day of voluntary group practices that is part of the NBA’s in-market OTAs for the “Delete 8.’’
“I like what they’ve done so far. They got to continue to work. There’s often times ups and downs for young players. There’s a learning curve they have to go through. Some experiences will be better than others. “They both have had some good moments in the league. You want to build a consistency. And how do you get there? You have to do it through your work. You have to learn from the experiences. And you have to be disciplined. And so, hopefully we can get there this is a very important offseason for both players.”
As it happened, Butler’s hard-nosed approach wasn’t accepted by Minnesota’s ownership, management or their young players. Butler asked to be traded and Thibodeau was soon out of a job. “Butler didn’t like some of the guys’ lack of professionalism,” one NBA source told The Post. “[Jimmy] and Tom had long talks about how to deal with it. When Butler realized it was unsolvable, he lashed out at the organization. His clock was ticking on his prime and didn’t want to waste it and forced his way out. Tommy was telling him to have patience, see it through.”
Boston overcame a 12-point first-half deficit, its largest comeback when facing elimination in 25 years, according to ESPN Stats & Info. “Boston played great in that second half,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They deserved and earned what they got. We understand how tough it is to win in the playoffs. We did not compete hard enough defensively, and we paid the price for that. But you do have to credit Boston. They played with great force, particularly off the dribble.”
During a huddle in the second half, coach Brad Stevens told his players that, for the first time in several games, they were playing Celtics basketball. Though this was probably obvious to anyone who has watched this conference finals series, it was a powerful statement that spoke to both how much of a departure the Celtics’ recent efforts have been from their ideal selves, and to Boston’s potential to be a two-way monster when the players are confident and aggressive. “He was absolutely right, we didn’t play the way we wanted the whole series,” Theis said. “We didn’t play our defense, we did adjustments and we just went back to our system the way we played all year. Everybody felt comfortable in our system. You could tell in the third quarter everybody was just enjoying being out there.”
Rachel Nichols: Brad Stevens told me at halftime that several players spoke up, talking about how dire the moment was and how they had to save their season. Jayson Tatum was one of them – he just told me he’s proud of how the group responded afterward.
Sean Grande: Brad on the Miami zone…”I hear all the time ‘get the ball to the middle of [it]. When you have Butler, Iguodala and Bam in the middle of the zone that’s how you turn it over. You’ve got to create action before the passes. If you stare at it, they’re going to steal it.”