We have our first real trade rumors of the season, as it’s being reported by Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer that Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood will not only have a multitude of suitors this trade season, but that Houston GM Rafael Stone will be entertaining them.
New article on @ringer with seven observations around the NBA: Steph Curry’s offball screens, pros and cons of a Porzingis post up, Grayson Allen’s importance to the Bucks, John Collins the playmaker, Cade’s scoring, Julius Randle’s regression, and SENGUN. https://t.co/09ljJakGCW— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 29, 2021
For those not interested in the whole thing, O’Connor had this to say:
“There is an expectation around the NBA that Christian Wood, who’s in the second season of a three-year contract, will receive significant trade interest and that Houston will entertain offers.”
It doesn’t sound like this report is some sort of line into the front office, but more like the expectations from rival executives around the league. Ultimately, it was a referendum on Alperen Sengun, who it seems is already earning a reputation around the league as a potential big time time player, as these same executives were tapping into a Houston desire to get Sengun more playing time as soon as possible.
In that vein, O’Connor thinks Daniel Theis will possibly be available also, saying:
Starting center Daniel Theis will also receive mild trade interest from teams in need of a steady veteran backup.
If the Rockets want to get their 19-year-old big man on the court, trading the two main veterans in front of him is certainly a way to do it, however, it does seem they’re starting to get the gist of simply just sitting Theis and playing Segun more anyway, as they’ve done the past two games.
Wood is a little bit different of a situation. He’s clearly Houston’s best player at this exact moment, averaging 16.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, though he hasn’t been as efficient this year as he was last, and there were some minor rumblings of unhappiness earlier this year. Combine Houston’s losing with the fact that Wood was brought on to be a piece of a championship puzzle and not one of the elder statesman on a squad rebuilding from the ground up, and I could understand why he was frustrated earlier. On top of that, he’s been playing some of his best ball of late, so it’s obviously not still an issue from an attitude standpoint.
Anyway, you’re not going to sit Wood for Sengun, and even if you intend on trading Wood, it’s wise to keep showcasing him playing well to drive up any potential price.
We discussed trading Wood earlier this year at TDS, and whether or not Houston would be wise to deal him now while he’s at a potential peak, especially considering he’s on an alternate timeline from the Rockets’ young core and will likely be looking for a big contract in two years... so I’m not going to beat too much of that horse. But my viewpoint on how to get Sengun more time is: just play the guy. I think Stephen Silas may finally be going that route anyway.
As for Wood and Theis being dealt, I’m not losing any sleep if Houston trades them. Theis has been a professional and has been extremely helpful to the youngsters from a veteran locker room presence, but he’s as expendable as it gets at this point. And if the Rockets can get some contending team to drop a ransom on Wood in the hopes he pushes them over the top... well, it’s all about the rebuild for Houston right now and I’d be fine with pulling that trigger.
Anyway, just rumors at this point — and maybe not the trade rumors we were hoping for with the recent John Wall drama — but definitely something to keep an eye on as we move through this first full year of the rebuild.