Christian Wood

Rockets Rumors: Wall, Wood, Tate, Porter, Green

While there was never any real doubt, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms that Rockets guard John Wall is going to exercise his player option for the 2022/23 season. That option is worth approximately $47.4MM, which is far more than Wall could realistically expect to earn next season if he were to opt out of his deal to become a free agent.

The Rockets were unable to work out a trade involving Wall last offseason or during the 2021/22 season, but will try again this summer, according to Scotto, who says Wall’s reps at Klutch Sports would likely engage in buyout talks with Houston if the club still can’t find a viable trade. Wall’s preference would be to have a role on a winning team, Scotto adds.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Scotto, Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire said he gets the sense from conversations with people around the league that there are still some off-court concerns with Christian Wood. The big man might be a better fit in a contender’s locker room with a clear veteran star and leader in place, per DuBose.
  • Also on the HoopsHype podcast, Scotto noted that the Rockets are prioritizing cap room for 2023, which means that they may prefer to wait to lock up players like Jae’Sean Tate and Kevin Porter, who will be extension-eligible this offseason and could be long-term pieces.
  • Jalen Green got off to a slow start this season, but his strong second-half play – including an ongoing streak of five straight games with 30+ points – bodes well for the Rockets’ rebuild, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who says there should be “no denying his status or stature” going forward.
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previewed the Rockets’ offseason, touching on Porter’s case for an extension, Wall’s status, and what the team will do with Wood and Eric Gordon, among other topics.
  • Within his own look ahead to the Rockets’ offseason at The Athletic, Iko says he’d be surprised if Wood is still with the team after next season’s trade deadline and suggests a team-friendly extension for Porter could be in the range of $10-14MM per year.
  • In case you missed it, Rockets two-way player Trevelin Queen was named the G League MVP for 2021/22.

Southwest Notes: Wood, Gordon, Schröder, Grizzlies, Mavs

Rockets veterans Christian Wood (left hamstring tightness), Eric Gordon (right groin soreness), and Dennis Schröder (left shoulder soreness) were held out of Monday’s game vs. San Antonio and seem unlikely to play any more this season, says Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

As Feigen outlines, none of those injuries are invented, but it’s probably safe to assume Wood, Gordon, and Schröder wouldn’t all be sidelined by “tightness” and “soreness” if the Rockets were in the midst of a playoff race. Instead, the team is invested in securing a top spot in the draft lottery — currently, Houston is in a three-way tie for the NBA’s worst record (20-56).

With Wood, Gordon, and Schröder out, prospects like Daishen Nix and Usman Garuba will likely see more action down the stretch for the Rockets, joining fellow rookies Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Josh Christopher in the regular rotation, Feigen writes. Nix and Garuba each played 14 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Spurs.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • In addition to having the NBA’s second-best record this season, the Grizzlies are the “sleeping giant” of the 2022 offseason, according to Danny Leroux of The Athletic. As Leroux lays out, Memphis has some cap flexibility and a handful of draft picks available this summer and should be motivated to add talent before Ja Morant transitions from his rookie contract to a more expensive second contract in 2023.
  • The Mavericks strongly considered signing free agent guard Quinn Cook to a 10-day hardship contract earlier in the season, but ultimately chose Isaiah Thomas in part due to proximity, writes Marc Stein at his Substack. Cook, who is currently playing for the Stockton Kings in the G League, said in a tweet over the weekend that he was at “rock bottom” earlier this year and would be thrilled to get an NBA call-up before the season is over.
  • The Mavericks hired Jason Kidd as their head coach in part because of the impact the Hall-of-Fame point guard could have on Luka Doncic, and so far it seems that bet is paying off, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “He’s been great for us,” Doncic said of Kidd. “He communicates with the players. He’s just been great, helping not just me but everybody, just to see a better picture.”

Heat Rumors: Herro, Robinson, Oladipo, Martin, Offseason

Heat guard Tyler Herro is the frontrunner to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2022, having averaged 20.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.9 APG in 32.7 MPG this season while coming off the bench in 44 of his 54 appearances. Herro is having his breakout year at the right time — he’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, some rival executives and agents believe Herro’s next deal could approach the maximum salary. Others believe it’ll be a step below that and have used Jaylen Brown‘s four-year extension with Boston – which had a base value of $103MM, plus $12MM in incentives – as a point of comparison. Recent four-year, $85MM contracts for the likes of Fred VanVleet and Lonzo Ball have also set a potential baseline for Herro, Fischer observes.

There are still people around the NBA who believe Herro could be the “odd man out” if the Heat try to land another star, Fischer writes. “We all know Miami goes big-fish hunting,” one general manager told Bleacher Report. Still, until an obvious big-name target emerges, it seems likely that Herro’s future will be in Miami, where he’s highly valued.

Here’s more on the Heat from Fischer:

  • Assuming Miami is unable to add a star player this offseason, the team’s biggest summer move could involve sharpshooter Duncan Robinson. Fischer says league personnel view Robinson as the Heat’s most logical trade chip, and sources tell Bleacher Report that the club gauged his value prior to February’s trade deadline, though no discussions ever got serious. The Heat would love to add another impact player in the frontcourt and have shown interest in Rockets big man Christian Wood and Hornets forward P.J. Washington, among others, Fischer adds.
  • Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin, both of whom will be free agents after the season, have strong interest in remaining with the Heat, sources tell Fischer.
  • People around the NBA believe last month’s KZ Okpala trade that freed up Miami’s 2023 first-round pick to be dealt could be a precursor to a potential offseason move, says Fischer. “They are the best in the league at lining up for a big move,” a Western Conference executive said. Another source suggested to Fischer that Miami always has “plans for every actuality,” so the team isn’t necessarily zeroed in one specific target.

Rockets Notes: Schröder, Stone, Wood, Gordon

Rockets general manager Rafael Stone expressed optimism that newly acquired guard Dennis Schröder will fit well with the team, Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic tweets. Houston traded for the 28-year-old earlier this week.

“I think the style of basketball we play, we’re either the fastest or top 3-4 fastest in the NBA,” Stone said. “And he’s electric in the open court, and an above average defender. I think it’s gonna be a good fit, both ways.”

Schröder had been considered a possible buyout candidate following his trade from Boston to Houston, but Stone’s comments suggest that’s not the team’s plan. If the Rockets do choose to keep Schröder, he’d provide backcourt depth behind starting guards Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.

In 49 games this season, Schröder has averaged 14.4 points and 4.2 assists in 29.2 minutes per contest. He’s shot 44% from the floor and 35% from deep during those outings.

Here are some other notes from Houston:

  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic hosted a Q&A with veteran big man Christian Wood before the trade deadline, discussing the team’s rebuild, Wood’s individual growth and more. Wood has played in 52 of his team’s 55 games this season, averaging 17.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.
  • Stone expressed confidence that Eric Gordon wants to be in Houston after not being moved in a deadline deal, Alykhan Bijani tweets. “Eric wants to be here. I feel really comfortable talking about that,” Stone said. The 33-year-old is set to make $19.6MM next season and holds a $20.1MM team option for the 2023/24 campaign, so he could be a trade candidate again in the offseason or at next year’s deadline.
  • Stone also discussed whether the team received trade offers for Wood and Gordon, explaining why he didn’t move either of the players. “We obviously didn’t receive an offer that we wanted to do more than we wanted to keep the guys. I think they’re important parts of this team,” Stone said as part of a larger quote, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 (Twitter link).

Leftover Deadline Rumors: Raptors, Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets, Knicks

The Raptors considered a series of potential trade scenarios before they agreed to send Goran Dragic and a draft pick to San Antonio for Thaddeus Young, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

According to Grange, Toronto had hoped the Hawks would make Bogdan Bogdanovic available, viewing the veteran wing as someone who could help the team in both the short- and long-term. However, Atlanta didn’t budge on Bogdanovic, forcing the Raptors to look elsewhere.

The Raptors inquired on Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Kings forward Harrison Barnes, sources tell Grange, but the price tags for those players were high. As previously reported, there were also discussions about a three-team deal that would’ve sent Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel to Toronto, but Grange suggests those talks never gained serious traction.

Here are a few more leftover rumors on trades that didn’t get made on deadline day:

  • The Rockets never made real progress on a John Wall trade with the Lakers, who were unwilling to attach a first-round pick to Russell Westbrook, but a few days before the deadline, Houston got much closer to moving Wall to another team, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. That proposed deal ultimately fell through, per Feigen, who doesn’t specify which team the Rockets were talking to.
  • During a TV appearance, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) said one concept that “could have been discussed” by the Rockets and Lakers before the deadline, “depending on who you believe,” was a swap of Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and draft capital for Wall and Christian Wood. It doesn’t sound like those talks, if they even occurred, advanced at all.
  • After agreeing to acquire center Jalen Smith from Phoenix, the Pacers explored flipping him to a new team, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer says the Nuggets were among the clubs in the mix for Smith, but Indiana didn’t find a deal it liked and ended up hanging onto the third-year big man.
  • The Knicks didn’t make a deal on deadline day, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Sources tell Steve Popper of Newsday that the club was willing to move just about anyone on its roster, but had trouble finding trade partners for many of its top trade candidates, including Kemba Walker and Noel. According to Popper, his sources suggested there was a “universal lack of interest in the Knicks’ talent and contracts.”

Western Notes: Wiggins, Haliburton, Gordon, Wood, Jones

Even with Klay Thompson returning from his two-season absence last month, the Warriors still want first-time All-Star Andrew Wiggins to be aggressive, Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Wiggins is averaging 18.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game, shooting 49% from the floor.

“Klay’s got this very big … aura about him when he’s on the court and he just finds a way to make his presence felt,” teammate Andre Iguodala said. “And Wiggs is a little more shy. So we had to remind Wiggs we still need you to go out and be on attack. And he’s done a great job of doing that.”

Wiggins’ play is a key reason why the Warriors are 40-13 this season. Golden State is currently on an eight-game win streak, working to stay afloat as Draymond Green rehabs a lower back injury.

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton finished with 17 assists on Saturday, becoming the youngest player in franchise history (21 years old) to do so, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee notes. Haliburton only recorded four turnovers and also pitched in 13 points. The Kings beat the Thunder 113-103.
  • Rockets veterans Christian Wood and Eric Gordon are blocking out the trade rumors ahead of Thursday’s deadline, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Wood and Gordon have been mentioned as possible trade candidates for the Rockets, who own the worst record in the West at 15-37. Wood is due $13.7MM this season, while Gordon will make $18.2MM.
  • Pelicans rookie Herbert Jones broke down film on some of his steals with Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Jones, the No. 35 pick in 2021, has become one of the league’s bright young defenders. He’s averaging 1.5 steals in 29.8 minutes per game this season.

Rockets Notes: Wood, Green, Stone, Sengun

Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com is the latest reporter to state that the Heat have been linked to Rockets big man Christian Wood, confirming that a framework involving Duncan Robinson has been discussed. However, Bulpett says people involved in the situation have downplayed the idea that any substantive progress was made.

One general manager who spoke to Bulpett suggested that Houston would want far more than Robinson in a deal with the Heat and expressed a belief that the Rockets’ asking price for Wood and other players has been too high.

“Houston’s really been overvaluing Wood and Eric Gordon,” the GM said. “They think they’re going to get back a major piece, but they’re unrealistic with their expectations. I’ve looked around the league at what they’re putting out there — and I know they have, too. And no one is willing to give up a cornerstone player.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Rockets rookie Jalen Green will take part in the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend later this month, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). Green will be reportedly be going up against Juan Toscano-Anderson, Obi Toppin, and Cole Anthony.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic conducted an extensive Q&A with Rockets general manager Rafael Stone, discussing Stone’s experience since taking over as the head of basketball operations in 2020, Houston’s rebuilding process, the team’s plan for the trade deadline, and much more. Stone said he always wants to be aggressive but doesn’t feel compelled to be active in the next eight days if the right deal doesn’t materialize. “We do have a lot of picks out in the future, so there’s not some huge need that we have either on our current roster — or in terms of future assets — that we need to be aggressively pursuing,” Stone said. “Leading into this year, we were hoping, planning, tracking to be in the area where we’re at now. So, we’re not feeling any particular need to do X deal or Y deal.”
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Iko and Danny Leroux chatted about the Rockets’ approach to the trade deadline and the John Wall situation.
  • Rockets head coach Stephen Silas didn’t like what he saw earlier this season when Christian Wood and rookie Alperen Sengun were on the court at the same time, which is why he hasn’t used that frontcourt combination lately, writes Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle. “It’s a tough position for (Sengun) because he’s playing behind one of our better players in Christian, and I don’t feel comfortable at this point playing Christian and Al-P together,” Silas said last week. “The numbers, the eye test have shown that those two together hasn’t been that great.”

Rockets Rumors: Gordon, Wood, Theis

A report earlier this week stated that the Rockets appear increasingly likely to hang onto Eric Gordon through this season’s trade deadline, but Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report hears that Houston – in discussions with rival teams – has conveyed confidence about receiving a first-round pick in exchange for Gordon.

Unless the pick is heavily protected or they’d have to take a really bad contract or two back in return, it’s hard to imagine the Rockets would turn down the opportunity to acquire a first-rounder for the 33-year-old guard, who doesn’t fit the their rebuild timeline.

While there may have been some truth to The Athletic’s report about the Rockets’ desire to keep Gordon for his leadership abilities, I suspect the team is posturing at least to some extent in an effort to get teams to increase their offers.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • An earlier report on Christian Wood linked him to the Heat, stating that Miami has been one of the most “persistent” teams engaging with Houston in conversations about Wood. Fischer confirms the Heat have been frequently mentioned recently as a potential suitor for the big man.
  • According to Fischer, word of a possible Wood/Duncan Robinson framework has circulated around the league, but the Rockets would certainly require a far greater return for their leading scorer, rebounder, and shot-blocker, who is on a very team-friendly contract (Wood will earn $13.7MM this season and $14.3MM in 2022/23).
  • Rockets center Daniel Theis has been generating significant interest, Fischer reports, naming the Hornets, Bucks, and Raptors as teams that have inquired on the big man. Fischer also confirms that the Celtics have checked in on Theis, as previously reported by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Rockets Rumors: Gordon, Wood, Wall, Theis, Nwaba, Augustin

The Rockets have received multiple trade offers for veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon, but have turned them down, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko suggests that unless they get an offer that “simply can’t get ignored,” it’s becoming more plausible that the Rockets will simply hang onto Gordon through the trade deadline.

Houston is in the early stages of a rebuild and Gordon is having his best shooting season as a pro, with career highs in FG% (.506) and 3PT% (.452) — the time seems right to make a deal. However, Iko says the team admires how Gordon carries himself on and off the court and believes he’s a positive influence on Houston’s young players, so there’s no rush to ship him out.

It still seems possible that Gordon will be on the move by February 10 if a potential trade partner meets the Rockets’ reported asking price of a first-round pick. But if Gordon remains in Houston, the club will have more opportunities to trade him before his contract expires — he’s owed a $19.6MM guaranteed salary in 2022/23 and a $20.9MM non-guaranteed salary in ’23/24.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Unless they’re blown away by an offer, the Rockets will likely hang onto Christian Wood through the trade deadline, says Iko. Sources tell The Athletic that the Heat have been one of the most “persistent” teams that has engaged with Houston in conversations about Wood.
  • Although the Rockets have received some inquiries about John Wall, his contract makes a trade unlikely, and most teams that have registered interest continue to simply monitor the situation rather than actively pursuing the point guard, Iko writes. The Clippers expressed genuine interest earlier in the season, sources tell The Athletic, but their goals as the deadline approaches are unclear. I’d be pretty shocked if the Clippers sought a trade for Wall.
  • With no guarantees that the Rockets will make a trade involving Gordon, Wood, or Wall, Iko indicates smaller deals around the edges are more likely. Daniel Theis, David Nwaba, and – to a lesser degree – D.J. Augustin – have all drawn some interest, Iko reports.

Rockets Notes: Silas, Mathews, Wood, Porter, Sengun

The Rockets lost big on Monday night in Philadelphia with Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. both serving a one-game suspension, but coach Stephen Silas said the game with the Sixers wasn’t a consideration in deciding how to discipline two of his starters, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Both players were suspended for their actions on Saturday, with Wood being late for a COVID-19 test and refusing to enter the game in the second half and Porter leaving the arena at halftime after a confrontation with assistant coach John Lucas.

Silas, the son of former NBA player and coach Paul Silas, said he turned to his father’s advice of “follow your gut” in deciding how to handle the situation. Especially with a young team, he believes it’s more important to set boundaries about proper behavior than to worry about the results of one game.

“There isn’t a balance (between winning and disciplining) to me,” Silas said. “There’s doing what’s right and doing what’s best for this organization. That’s how you build culture. You do it through a lot of different things. Accountability is huge, making sure everybody knows what is acceptable and is not acceptable and learning from that. That’s the big part, learning from those moments and learning from those experiences so we can improve and we can be better.”

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • Garrison Mathews tied his season high with 23 points Monday shortly after clearing the league’s health and safety protocols, Feigen adds in the same story. Mathews described his time off as “boring” and was happy to be back on the court. “From the jump, I felt good,” he said. “Having six, seven days off, it’s hard to take that many days off and come back and get right to it. My body felt fresh. It wasn’t sore like it was before. It was good to have a few days off, but when you take seven days off, your conditioning starts to wear down at the end.”
  • In the wake of Saturday’s incident, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated believes the Rockets should get rid of Porter and Wood as soon as possible, even if that means waiving Porter, whose contract is guaranteed for $3.2MM next season. Mannix also criticizes general manager Rafael Stone for assembling the current roster, which Mannix claims is becoming a distraction for talented young players such as Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and Jae’Sean Tate, and for having Silas deal with the media whenever there’s a personnel issue.
  • Fans have been calling for Sengun to get more playing time, but the rookie center told a Turkish magazine that the Rockets are bringing him along slowly so he can adjust to the NBA, relays Matt Young of The Houston Chronicle“(The Rockets) played nine games in 15 days, we used to play nine games in nine weeks in Turkey, we did it in two weeks here,” Sengun said. “It’s hard to get used to it right away.”