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With one season left on his existing contract, the Rockets have a decision to make in the near future on 26-year-old big man Christian Wood.
If Houston is uncertain on his long-term fit, or if the two sides cannot come to a financial agreement on his next contract, it makes sense for the Rockets to pursue trades involving their leading scorer and rebounder, rather than letting walk for no compensation in 2023 free agency.
That’s especially the case given Houston’s rebuilding status, since it’s not as if the team is expecting to contend for a title in the 2022-23 campaign, no matter what. Thus, without a longer-term agreement, the short-term benefits likely aren’t worth the downside a year from now.
Should the Rockets opt to explore Wood trades, a case can clearly be made that his market would be at its highest during the 2022 offseason, when the receiving team would have Wood under contract for at least one full season before the risk of his free agency comes into play.
Per Kelly Iko of The Athletic, the market seems to be robust:
It’s obvious why teams have been intrigued with Wood in the past. He’s a unicorn of a big man. That interest hasn’t waned, even in the early weeks of the offseason, sources told The Athletic. Wood is talented enough to where the Rockets can’t let him walk without getting assets back if their tenure is headed for an ending.
While the timetable for any deal or decision is unclear, it could make sense for both the Rockets and Wood to try and find a resolution in June. Otherwise, by waiting until July or longer, some of his potential landing spots could come off the board due to free-agent signings.
With his free agency a year away, interest in Christian Wood hasn’t waned, sources tell @TheAthletic. Is he here for the long haul?
On his uncertain future, the upcoming draft, a potential logjam and a rebuild’s first tough question. https://t.co/WNkifTqGNS
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) May 27, 2022