We’re not sure exactly when the 2020 NBA offseason will happen, but when it does, Christian Wood is among the free agents expected to be of interest to the Knicks. According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, some members of New York’s front office are “enamored” with the Pistons‘ big man.
Begley’s report doesn’t make it clear whether those members of the Knicks’ front office who like Wood will all remain involved in basketball decision-making going forward. A source tells Begley that the Knicks have been monitoring Wood for much of the 2019/20 season, which suggests the team had its eye on him before Leon Rose was hired as president of basketball operations. Rose is expected to make some changes to the front office now that he has officially taken over, and it’s possible the new executives will zero in on different players.
Still, assuming the Knicks create a good chunk of cap room by turning down team options and waiving a handful of players with non-guaranteed 2020/21 salaries, Wood might make sense as a target. The 24-year-old, one of three NBA players who has tested positive for the coronavirus, is in the midst of a career year, with 13.1 PPG and 6.3 RPG in 62 games (21.4 MPG).
Wood has been particularly effective since Andre Drummond was moved at the trade deadline, averaging 22.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and 2.0 APG with a .562/.400/.757 shooting line in his last 13 games.
As Begley points out, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, and Maurice Harkless are among the players who aren’t locks to return to New York next season, to the club could have some minutes to fill at the four and five. Wood’s age would also line up well with the Knicks’ rebuilding timeline.
The Pistons, who will hold Wood’s Early Bird rights, are expected to make an effort to lock him up when he reaches free agency, and he has expressed interest in re-signing with the team that gave him an opportunity to play.