Of all the free agents who signed this offseason, no one had a more difficult path to a big-money deal than Christian Wood, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Wood went undrafted out of college, played for five NBA teams and was waived in China before breaking through last season with the Pistons.
“Coming back from China (in 2017) and going into the G League, I knew I had to step up,” Wood said. “I actually got cut from that China team. They said I wasn’t good enough at the time. That chip on my shoulder from me being undrafted and me being waived from there, I knew I had to change. It’s a journey I wouldn’t put anybody on. It’s a journey I learned a lot from to get to where I am now. I wouldn’t have asked for it to be any other way because it made me (get) to where I am now.”
Wood is reuniting with new Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, who was an assistant in Charlotte when Wood played there in 2016/17. He is looking forward to being part of Silas’ five-out offense, which requires big men who can shoot from the outside.
“I like to get out and run,” Wood said. “I know the Houston Rockets like to get out and run. The way James (Harden) and other guys play around him, I think I can be a great fit.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Brandon Ingram‘s new contract shows the Pelicans consider him as much a part of their future as Zion Williamson, notes William Guillory of The Athletic. Ingram signed the largest contract of the offseason, earning $158.25MM over the next five years.
- Desmond Bane‘s deadly outside shot, along with his maturity and competitiveness, inspired the Grizzlies to trade up to the 30th pick, according to Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Bane averaged 13.6 PPG and shot 44.2% from beyond the arc last season at TCU. “He was a guy that kind of rose to the top because he fits so many things that we’re about here,” said Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins. “He’s a playmaker and he’s unselfish. Those are big things we talked about being a together and unselfish team.”
- The Grizzlies signed Pacific guard Jahlil Tripp to a training camp contract, the team announced on Twitter. Tripp won Defensive Player of the Year honors last season in the West Coast Conference.