Rockets center Christian Wood is expected to draw significant trade interest ahead of the February deadline to make a deal, and Houston would be willing to listen, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Wood, 26, is 6-foot-10 and has started all 21 games this season, averaging 16.0 points and a career-high 11.2 rebounds. While the Rockets are undergoing a rebuild and Wood has been a nice fit, his contract is up at the end of next season.
That’s hardly a major problem at this stage, but there is a sense he may prefer to play with a team that’s closer to winning on a regular basis.
“Wood is only 26, so Houston could keep him, but he’s no sure thing to stay come 2023,” O’Connor wrote. “One of the reasons he signed with the Rockets over other interested teams was to play with James Harden, and Harden is long gone. Wood can offer a lot more to a team with playoff hopes than he can to the Rockets.”
O’Connor also suggested that the odds are against Houston retaining Woods when his contract expires and he becomes a free agent.
If that’s the case, the Rockets could do worse than explore the idea of using Wood to explore trades that would return either young players or draft picks, or both. He would look awfully good on a team that is lacking an inside rebounding presence who can also score (as evidenced by his 21.0 scoring average last season).
The Rockets don’t need to rush into a decision regarding Wood, of course. Their primary focus for the time being, it seems, is to figure out what to do with John Wall, who has been sitting out as the Rockets try to find a taker.
But with the news out there that Wood might not want to be around for the long term, you can be sure rival teams will eventually gauge what it might take to land him in a trade.
As an aside, Wood was in a walking boot with a sprained ankle following the Rockets’ win over the Thunder on Wednesday. As of this post, his status for Friday vs. the Magic was undetermined.