The Dallas Mavericks have agreed to trade the No. 26 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and Sterling Brown to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Christian Wood, according to Shams Charania.
This trade will not be completed until draft night due to the fact that the Mavericks owe the New York Knicks a top-10 protected pick in 2023. The “Stepien Rule” —— prevents teams from being without first-round picks in consecutive seasons. That means the Mavericks will end up making the No. 26 pick for the Rockets, then trading that player as part of the trade.
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Wood, who has been with the Rockets since 2020, averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and one block per game, while shooting 51 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point land. He is in the final year of a three-year, $41 million deal, and will be extension eligible six months after the trade is complete, should the Mavericks want to go down that route.
The Rockets signed Wood ahead of the 2020-21 season, hoping he would be a complementary piece to help James Harden and Russell Westbrook. That, of course, never came to pass, as both Harden and Westbrook forced their way out prior to the season, and the Rockets became a rebuilding team. Now, at least, they’ve been able to flip him for an extra first-round pick.
Let’s grade the trade:
The Mavericks are coming off a surprise run to the Western Conference finals, but when they got there it quickly became clear that they didn’t have enough talent across the board to deal with the Golden State Warriors. In particular, their frontcourt options were quite limited.
As a result, they’ve gone out and picked up Christian Wood, who will instantly make them a better team. A rangy, 6-foot-10 big man who can space the floor and knock down 3-pointers, and also operate as a lob threat in the pick-and-roll, Wood fits in perfectly with how the Mavericks like to play. With Wood assuming the starting center role, the Mavericks’ offense should become even more potent.
The only potential downside for the Mavericks is how Wood will impact the locker room. Despite his clear talent, this will be Wood’s seventh team in seven seasons, and he had some notable issues with the Rockets. In early January, prior to their game against the Denver Nuggets, he caused shootaround to be delayed by skipping COVID-19 testing. He was benched to start that game, showed little effort in the first half when he did go in, and was then confronted by teammates and assistant coach John Lucas at halftime. After he refused to go back in the game in the second half, the team suspended him for one game.
Winning usually solves those sort of issues, though, and the Mavericks should win even more with Wood in the mix. Plus, they really didn’t give up anything of note to get him, and he only has one year left on his deal. If for some reason he’s not a good fit they can just cut their losses at the end of the season.
Dallas trade grade: A
- No. 26 overall pick in 2022 NBA Draft
When the Rockets signed Christian Wood prior to the 2020-21 season, it seemed like a nifty piece of business. Wood had shown a lot of promise with the Detroit Pistons before COVID-19 shut down the world, and his skillsets meshed well with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. He was expected to help them continue to compete at the top of the Western Conference.
Instead, Westbrook and Harden decided they were no longer interested in playing for the Rockets, and the team was forced to shift into rebuild mode. If the Rockets had known what was coming, there’s no way they would have signed Wood that offseason, and he just never really made sense on the roster given their new direction.
In the end, though, it worked out, as they were able to flip him for a first-round pick. Yes, it’s toward the end of the first, but every extra chance in the draft helps when you’ve only won 37 games combined in the last two seasons. Plus, most analysts project that the Rockets will take Duke forward Paolo Banchero. Both he and last season’s fascinating rookie Alperen Sengun will now have a much clearer role and path to playing time with Wood out of the equation.
It’s a bit surprising that the Rockets weren’t able to squeeze more out of the Mavericks in return, but they didn’t have to take on any bad money and got a first-round pick for a guy who didn’t make sense long-term.
Houston trade grade: B+