Christian Wood

And-Ones: Extensions, Breakout Players, X Factors, Seattle

Why the sudden surge in two-year extensions for players such as Steven Adams and Larry Nance Jr.? It has a lot to do with the expiration of the league’s national TV contracts after the 2024/25 season, as Bryan Toporek of Forbes.com explains. The salary cap is expected to rise significantly the following season after those rights are negotiated. That provides incentives for veteran players to enter free agency again that summer.

We have more NBA-related topics:

  • What do Franz Wagner, Cade Cunningham and Nic Claxton have in common? They are some of the young players cited by ESPN Insiders as having potential breakout seasons, like the one Ja Morant enjoyed last season.
  • Then there are some veteran players whose presence on new teams could change the fortunes of those franchises. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor examines those X-factors, including the Mavericks’ Christian Wood, the Trail Blazers’ Jerami Grant and the Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert.
  • The Clippers and Trail Blazers are playing a preseason game in Seattle and that has renewed the discussion of the NBA eventually having another franchise in the city, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. The state-of-the-art Climate Pledge Arena – the rejuvenated version of KeyArena, where the SuperSonics played – sparks hope that the NBA will give the city an expansion team.

Texas Notes: Wood, Crowder, Collins, Green

The Mavericks‘ plan to start JaVale McGee at center and utilize his fellow five Christian Wood off the bench may test the limits of the team culture second-year head coach Jason Kidd has been cultivating in Dallas, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. So far though, Wood appears willing to play whatever role is asked of him.

“I’m not really worried about who starts the game, more so who’s finishing the game,” Wood said on Monday, addressing a potential reserve role in Dallas. “If people were asking, ‘How would he feel coming off the bench?’ I’m not worried. It’s something that most likely will happen in talks with extensions and talks with free agency, but during the season, it’s not going to get me off my pivot.” 

Wood enjoyed a typically productive 2021/22 season on a lottery-bound Rockets team. He averaged 17.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 BPG and 0.8 SPG in 68 games. He also connected on 39% of a high-volume 4.9 three-point attempts.

Meanwhile, during Kidd’s first season as head coach last year, the Mavericks secured a 52-30 record and returned to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011, when Kidd was the team’s starting point guard.

Ahead of the 2022 draft, Houston flipped Wood to the Mavericks. In return, the Rockets received several veteran role players, but the highlight of the deal was Dallas’ No. 26 first-round draft pick, which Houston then traded to the Timberwolves in exchange for the No. 29 pick and two future second-rounders.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Though Suns power forward Jae Crowder appears to be headed for a divorce with Phoenix, the Mavericks are not interested in trading for the veteran stretch four, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix. Crowder served as the starting power forward for consecutive Finals teams from 2020-21, first with the Heat and then for Phoenix. In 67 contests last season, the 6’6″ vet averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.4 SPG, while connecting on 34.8% of his 5.4 triples a night and 78.9% of his 1.3 looks at the charity stripe.
  • Spurs power forward Zach Collins, kicking off a new NBA season healthy at last, is excited to show what he can do this year in San Antonio, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “I don’t think you guys have seen the best of me yet,” Collins said. “Definitely the best I’ve felt physically in my career.” The 6’11” big man missed most of the 2021/22 season while recovering from an ankle injury. In 28 games, he averaged 7.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG on .490/.341/.800 shooting splits.
  • Second-year Rockets shooting guard Jalen Green, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft out of the G League Ignite, is a devout workaholic, according to his trainer Mike HillKelly Iko of The Athletic spoke with Hill about how Green approached the second half of his rookie season and his preparations for 2022/23. Among other areas, the duo worked on improving Green’s strength, ball handling, and pick-and-roll abilities.

Mavs Notes: McGee, Brunson, Wood, Chandler

Free agent addition JaVale McGee is excited to show fans what he can really do in a healthy second stint with the Mavericks, writes Dwain Price of Mavs.com. The 7’0″ center suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia back in 2015/16 and struggled upon his return, leading him to eventually be waived by Dallas.

Health-wise I’ve grown to know how to take care of myself now and I know how to do preventative things that I didn’t know how to do the last time I was here,” McGee said. “The last time I was here I was recovering from an injury – trying to give 100 percent — so just being here 100 percent healthy is beautiful.”

McGee said competing against Luka Doncic during last season’s playoffs with Phoenix was key to his return to Dallas, Price notes.

Seeing seven straight games of Luka definitely helped with the decision of knowing that he’s a player who gets everybody involved, and I like being around players like that,” McGee said. “The LeBrons, Chris Pauls and players who get their teammates involved, especially big men. So that was definitely a selling point for me.

All the attention that (Doncic) draws and the way that this system is set up to have all the shooters around, it really opens up the lanes for players like me who are dynamic at the rim.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • The Mavs hope to replace Jalen Brunson‘s production by having multiple players step up their play-making and ball-handling, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Both head coach Jason Kidd and guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who will be starting in place of Brunson, noted having Tim Hardaway Jr. back and healthy helps — Hardaway has averaged 15.7 PPG over his four season with Dallas, and Brunson averaged 16.3 PPG last season. Brunson inked a four-year, $104MM deal with the Knicks in free agency.
  • In a mailbag Q&A for Mavs.com, Eddie Sefko predicts that Christian Wood will wind up starting more games than not, despite opening the season as a reserve. McGee is set to start at center, with Dorian Finney-Smith joining him in the frontcourt. According to Sefko, “Wood was brought in to be a starter,” but as long as he’s getting enough minutes, coming off the bench should be fine. If the team struggles with McGee starting, Wood could replace him sooner rather than later, Sefko adds.
  • Kidd told reporters, including Townsend (Twitter link), that Tyson Chandler will have an expanded role working with the team’s big men this season. Chandler will also work with the frontcourt members of the team’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends. The former Defensive Player of the Year won a title with Dallas in 2011 and last played with Houston two years ago.

Southwest Notes: Wood, Mavs, Vogel, Spurs, McCollum

After Jason Kidd told reporters on Monday that the plan is for Christian Wood to come off the bench in his first season for the Mavericks, the big man said in his own media session that he was hearing about it for the first time. Following up on that topic on Tuesday, Kidd admitted he hadn’t spoken directly to Wood about his role, but he also suggested the big man wasn’t totally in the dark about it.

“I haven’t really talked to him about that. I know my assistants have,” Kidd said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). “When you use the term, ‘When you check in with six minutes…’ that means you didn’t start.

“So we’ll get to talking about his role as we go forward. I’ve never coached him, so I want to first see what he’s capable of doing with different lineups and different combinations here in preseason, and then we’ll make a decision on where he’s going to play, if he’s coming off the bench or starting. But right now, he will not start.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Frank Vogel will be with the Mavericks in training camp for “a couple of days,” according to Kidd, who said the former Lakers head coach took him up right away on an open invitation to visit (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News). Vogel, who worked with Kidd in Los Angeles, doesn’t have a formal NBA job this season after being let go by L.A. in the spring.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t have any delusions about his team’s ability to seriously contend this season, telling reporters on Monday, “Nobody here should go to Vegas and bet on this team to win the championship,” as Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News relays. While his young players are hoping to defy the odds and win more games than expected, Popovich said the focus will be on player development and growth. “At this point, the job is really to start them out the right way,” Popovich said. “Just like a new baby, and giving that baby all the nutrients it needs to develop properly and in the best environment. That’s our goal. Whatever success we have will come from that.”
  • CJ McCollum‘s new two-year contract extension with the Pelicans has a declining structure, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). McCollum will earn $33.3MM in 2024/25 and $30.7MM in ’25/26.

Mavs Notes: Wood, McGee, THJ, Ntilikina, Green, Dinwiddie, More

Christian Wood, the biggest addition of the Mavericks‘ offseason, is expected to primarily play a sixth man role in Dallas, head coach Jason Kidd told reporters today (Twitter link via Tim MacMahon of ESPN).

This is my first time hearing about it,” Wood said during his own media session (Twitter link via MacMahon). However, he said that his focus with his new team will be on winning and he’s not overly concerned about whether he starts or comes off the bench.

While it may come as a bit of a surprise that Dallas wants Wood to come off the bench, MacMahon notes (via Twitter) that – as he reported at the time – the Mavs told JaVale McGee when they recruited him in free agency that they envisioned him as their starting center. It seems that plan remains on course.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • During his Monday media session, Tim Hardaway Jr. pronounced himself “100%” healthy after missing most of last season due to foot surgery, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News relays (video link via Twitter). Kidd confirmed that Hardaway has been back in Dallas playing pick-up games for the last week and said the forward is “ready to go,” tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Frank Ntilikina and Josh Green are candidates to be Dallas’ third ball-handler behind Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie, Kidd said today (Twitter link via Landon Thomas). Speaking of Dinwiddie, he’s feeling good as he enters his first full season as a Maverick and concludes his first full healthy offseason following his ACL injury. “It’s night and day,” Dinwiddie said of his ACL now compared to last year (Twitter link via Caplan). “Not even close.”
  • New Bulls guard Goran Dragic confirmed today that he talked with the Mavericks as a free agent this summer, but said he was “never close” to a deal with Dallas (Twitter link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic).
  • Dorian Finney-Smith joked today that he would’ve been upset if Jalen Brunson had remained in Dallas instead of accepting the Knicks’ four-year, $104MM offer. “Man, you see how much money they gave him?” Finney-Smith said (Twitter link via Caplan). “I would’ve been mad if he stayed here.”

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Meeks, Kidd, Brunson, Wood

The Birmingham Squadron, the Pelicans’ NBA G League affiliate, has named T.J. Saint as its head coach and Billy Campbell as GM of Basketball Operations, according to a team press release. Recently retired guard Jodie Meeks will be an assistant coach on Saint’s staff.

Saint was the associate head coach for the Pelicans’ G League team from 2020-22. Campbell was the assistant GM for the team’s inaugural year in Birmingham last season. Meeks, who had a 10-year NBA career, announced his retirement earlier this month.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Former Squadron head coach Ryan Pannone has been promoted by the Pelicans to an assistant coaching position on the NBA team, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez tweets. Former Squadron GM Marc Chasanoff will remain in a front office role with the Pelicans. The NBA team will play its preseason finale against the Hawks at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, according to Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune.
  • It may not make Mavericks owner Mark Cuban happy but head coach Jason Kidd is pleased that Jalen Brunson got a huge payday in free agency, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Kidd make that comment on the “All the Smoke” podcast. “The biggest thing is I’m happy he got paid,’’ Kidd said. “He helped us. I know Cuban doesn’t like this, but I love when I can get a player get paid.’’ Brunson signed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks.
  • Christian Wood will need to spend a lot of time in the low block and be a physical presence at both ends of the court, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com writes. While Wood’s 3-point shooting is a big part of his skill set, the Mavericks will also need him to be a presence in the paint. They essentially used the trade for Wood with Houston as their main free agent addition, Sefko adds.

Western Notes: Marjanovic, Cauley-Stein, Lakers Arena, Warriors

What is the status of the ever popular Boban Marjanovic? According to Marc Stein in a Substack post, Marjanovic has a place on the Rockets’ opening night roster despite an excess of big men.

Marjanovic was dealt by Dallas as part of its package for Christian Wood. He has one season left on the two-year, $7MM contract he signed last offseason.

Alperen Şengün is projected as Houston’s starting center, with Bruno Fernando and Willie Cauley-Stein also vying for spots on the regular season roster.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The addition of Cauley-Stein isn’t official yet, as Houston must clear a roster space to sign him. He’s a low-risk, potentially solid-reward addition, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. Over the past five seasons, Cauley-Stein’s teams defended nearly five points better with him on the floor, Iko notes. He’s still athletic enough to play in Houston’s up-tempo system and should help the team defensively.
  • The home arena for the Lakers and Clippers in undergoing major renovations over the next three summers, according to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times. Upgrades are being made at every level of Crypto.com Arena, formerly known as the Staples Center. The upgrades include new jumbo screens, updated concession stands, a better sound system and an enhanced “fan experience.” The Clippers are scheduled to leave for their new arena in 2024.
  • Which member of the Warriors’ big three will leave? In a mailbag post, Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett speculates that Draymond Green is the only one who might depart in the near future. Stephen Curry has four years left on his deal and is the face of the franchise, while Klay Thompson has two years left on his contract and will likely sign another with Golden State. Green can opt out of his contract after next season and the heavily taxed Warriors may pin their hopes on one of their young frontcourt players emerging at a lower cost, Bulpett writes.

Texas Notes: Wood, Mavericks, Martin, T. Jones

Christian Wood told WFAA TV that he’s “counting my blessings” about the trade that sent him from the Rockets to the Mavericks in June. Wood, who spoke during a break at a youth basketball camp, said he’s focused on helping Dallas get even further than last season’s trip to the Western Conference Finals.

“It’s a great opportunity for me and for this organization to try and take that next step,” he said. “I just want to win games. My main objective is to try and get to the (NBA) Finals.”

Wood, who’s entering the final year of his contract, will add plenty of scoring and rebounding to the Mavs’ front line. He averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season, but he wasn’t in the Rockets’ long-term plans, so they shipped him to the Mavericks in exchange for four players and a first-round pick.

Wood said he’s happy to be in Dallas — both on and off the court.

“I love the city — it’s a little bit calmer than Houston, thank God,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve tried a few food spots out here, and the food is great. But I’m still trying to find my way around.”

There’s more NBA news from Texas:

  • The Mavericks are hiring Nets scouting director Matt Riccardi to a senior front office position, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Riccardi, who grew up in the Dallas area, has been with Brooklyn for the past 13 years.
  • Several teams are monitoring Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr., who requested a trade in June, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. After the Rockets re-signed Jae’Sean Tate and drafted Jabari Smith and Tari Eason in the first round, it doesn’t appear there’s a future for Martin in Houston.
  • Tre Jones‘ contract for the upcoming season became guaranteed for $500K when he remained on the Spurs‘ roster past August 1, tweets Spotrac contributor Keith Smith. Jones, who would make $1.78MM if he gets a full guarantee, could challenge for the starting point guard spot now that Dejounte Murray has been traded to Atlanta. Jones made 11 starts last season while averaging 6.0 points and 3.4 assists in 69 games.

Southwest Notes: Jackson Jr., Irving, Poeltl, Wood

Jaren Jackson Jr. underwent foot surgery after the season but the Grizzlies remain confident he’ll be a major contributor in 2022/23, according to Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Jackson is expected to be out four-to-six months due to a stress fracture in his right foot.

“Jaren is going to be just fine,” Grizzlies executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman said. “This is not a concerning injury. Jaren’s already putting in the work to get back. We know he’s going to be even better. Not worried about Jaren. He’s going to be a big part of our group this season.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Nets reached out to the Mavericks regarding a potential Kyrie Irving trade but Dallas showed little interest, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Coach Jason Kidd has been emphasizing “chemistry and accountability” and Irving’s reputation would change that mantra. It would also be difficult for Dallas to put together a suitable package.
  • Jakob Poeltl‘s name has been bandied about in the trade market but he may wind up staying with the Spurs, according to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. The Spurs look at Poeltl as a stabilizing force on a rebuilding team. They were asking in the range of a rotation player and a first-round pick for Poeltl at February’s trade deadline and the price could be even higher now.
  • Officially a member of the Mavericks, Christian Wood took what appeared to be a dig at the Rockets during his introduction to the Dallas media, Caplan writes. Wood is thrilled to join a perennial playoff contender. “I’m thankful I came to a good organization,” he said. Wood is entering the final year of his contract and is extension-eligible this offseason.

Rockets Trade Christian Wood To Mavericks

JUNE 24: The trade is now official, the Mavericks announced in the early hours of Friday morning. Wood has officially landed in Dallas in exchange for Marjanovic, Brown, Burke, Chriss, and the draft rights to No. 26 overall pick Wendell Moore. Houston is flipping Moore to Minnesota in a separate deal.


JUNE 15: The Rockets are trading Christian Wood to the Mavericks in exchange for the No. 26 overall pick of the 2022 draft, Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

All five players are on expiring contracts in 2022/23, with the four Mavs players being sent out for salary-matching purposes. Wood will earn $14.3MM next season.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the trade can’t be officially completed until draft night, which is June 23, because the Mavs owe a protected first-round pick to the Knicks in 2023. Six months after the trade is completed, Wood will be eligible to sign a contract extension worth up to $77MM over four years, says Marks.

Burke holds a $3.3MM player option for ’22/23 and will need to exercise the option in order for the trade to work, Marks notes (via Twitter), adding that rosters expanding to 20 in the offseason will allow the Rockets to take back four players in exchange for one. Burke will receive a trade bonus of $247,500 from Dallas as part of the deal, Marks relays in another tweet.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicated on Tuesday that the Mavericks were looking to trade their only draft pick, and they found a match in the rebuilding Rockets, who now control three first-round picks: Nos. 3, 17 and 26. The Rockets have multiple options to explore ahead of the draft. If they want to package Nos. 17 and 26 to move up a bit, they likely could.

The 26-year-old Wood is a very solid return for Dallas, even if he comes with some character concerns. The talented big man averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 block in 109 games for Houston the past two seasons, posting a shooting line of .507/.384/.626.

The move definitely comes with risks for the Mavs, because Wood is a subpar defensive player and can be quite inconsistent, especially from an effort standpoint, from game-to-game. However, he’s on an expiring contract, which limits the risk, and is theoretically in a good situation with star Luka Doncic.

Mavs GM Nico Harrison said the team would be looking to acquire a quality big man who could provide rebounding and rim protection after the team lost in the Western Conference Finals. Wood fulfills the first criteria — he’s a good rebounder — but falls a bit short on the second, as he isn’t much of a deterrent at the basket.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), the Rockets wanted to move Wood in order to create more playing time for Alperen Sengun, who was a rookie this past season, and the No. 3 pick, who will likely be another big man. They’ll get a look at some veterans on expiring deals, but obviously the main appeal was the No. 26 pick and no long-term salary.

Chriss, who will make $2.19MM next season, underwent knee surgery on Wednesday and will be sidelined while rehabbing for the next couple months, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).