Evaluating Rockets-Mavericks Trade Involving Christian Wood

With the NBA Draft just a week away, the Houston Rockets made a move to free up a starting rotation spot in their frontcourt by trading one of their best overall talents in Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

In a move to acquire a key big man to pair alongside Luka Doncic, the Mavericks traded Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and the No. 26 overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft to the Rockets for Christian Wood.

Following their loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, it was very clear that Dallas needed more scoring talent and with them having a ton of unwanted contracts on their bench, the Mavericks made a move to clear these contracts in an effort to bring in one that was worthwhile.

Wood enters the offseason having just one more year left on his current deal and is set to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2022-23 season.

Since joining the Rockets ahead of the 2020-21 season, Wood has averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and has shot 50.7% from the floor, 38.4% from three-point range. His 52 double-doubles since the start of the 2020-21 season ranks tied for 19th in the league.

A true “pick-and-pop” big man out on the perimeter, Christian Wood gives the Mavericks an impactful center that can spread the floor and be a true No. 2 scoring option next to Luka Doncic, something they currently do not have.

With question marks surrounding Jalen Brunson’s future with the team, making a move for another offensive talent was imperative for Dallas this offseason. Not seeing any real, impactful value with their No. 26 pick in this year’s draft, it made sense for the Mavericks to make a move like this.

As for the Rockets, it is surprising to see them give up Wood at this price. Getting a late first-round pick is not bad whatsoever, as Houston now owns the rights to three first-round picks in this year’s draft, but there is little value for them to have with the players they receive from Dallas.

Many teams inquired about Christian Wood’s availability in Houston at this past year’s trade deadline, but the Rockets were not keen on the idea of trading him then. In the middle of the season, Houston could have probably done a lot better for themselves rather than one first-round pick and four bench players, some of which will likely be waived.

This trade cannot be completed until the night of this year’s draft, so technically nothing is “official” yet, but once the trade is deemed complete, the Rockets will have 16 players on their active payroll with them still owning three first-round picks.

A team can carry a total of 20 players on their roster in the offseason, but not everyone on this roster, including the players they just acquired, will still be around come the start of the 2022-23 season.

Boban Marjanovic could very much be waived by Houston upon arrival, allowing him to sign with any other team in the league other than the Mavericks, and the same theory applies to Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss as well.

Sterling Brown could end up being waived, but the Rockets do have use for a young wing and Brown spent the 2020-21 season in Houston before leaving this past offseason to join the Mavericks.

Christian Wood had long been rumored to be on the trade block and recently, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported that the team was gauging interest in Wood ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft. Just a few days later, Houston made the move to trade Wood to Dallas in an effort to add more young, high-level prospects.

Seeing as Wood is already a finished product and an impactful player, the Mavericks really only gave up a first-round pick for him. This is  a really good deal for Dallas, especially since Christian Wood has just one more year left on his contract.

In an effort to better themselves and their championship aspirations, the Dallas Mavericks seem to have found their starting big man in this trade with the Houston Rockets. 

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