There’s an expectation around the NBA that Rockets big man Christian Wood will generate “significant” trade interest this season, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who adds that people around the league believe Houston will consider offers.
Wood, 26, parlayed a strong 2019/20 season in Detroit into a three-year, $41MM deal with the Rockets during the 2020 offseason. He has outperformed that deal so far, averaging 19.5 PPG and 10.2 RPG on .499/.362/.612 shooting in 60 games (32.5 MPG) in Houston. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
As O’Connor notes, one reason Wood chose to sign with the Rockets a year ago was to play with James Harden, which obviously didn’t last long. That doesn’t necessarily mean Wood wants out now, but he’d be more valuable to a playoff team than a rebuilding club. Rival executives have wondered whether Houston will be motivated to trade its veteran bigs – Wood and/or Daniel Theis – in order to open up more minutes for promising rookie Alperen Sengun, O’Connor writes.
I’d be a little surprised if the Rockets look to move Theis this season — the team signed him to a long-term deal in August after having drafted Sengun and fully committed to the rebuild, so he doesn’t fall into the same category as vets like Wood, John Wall, and Eric Gordon, who were on the roster before Harden was dealt. For what it’s worth, O’Connor says Theis will receive “mild” trade interest from teams in need of a reliable backup center.
While it remains to be seen whether either Wood or Theis will be dealt, the 3-16 Rockets should certainly be sellers at the February deadline — Wall, Gordon, D.J. Augustin, and Danuel House are among the other vets who could be shopped.