Why the Houston Rockets need to trade Christian Wood

Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
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Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets: Christian Wood’s trade value is sky-high

The Rockets signing of Christian Wood was the best move of the offseason. The Rockets were able to land an All-Star caliber player at the ripe age of 25 for the modest commitment of three years and $41 million.

Wood is currently the 96th highest-paid player in the NBA and is making only $2,174 more than J.J. Reddick. Needless to say, Wood is vastly underpaid compared to his production and locked down at that rate for two more seasons.

If it wasn’t for an ankle injury that prevents him from qualifying on leaderboards, Wood’s 20.9 points per game would rank 30th in the league, his 9.3 rebounds would rank 14th, and his 1.3 blocks would rank 11th. Wood has been elite across the board and he is one of five centers to take over four 3-pointers a game and he has converted them at a 36.7-percent clip, which is exactly the league average.

Add it all up and Wood is an elite center that’s paid like an NBA rotation piece. His value through trade is up there with the best players in the league because while his production isn’t at that level, his salary could fit nicely into just about any team’s ledger.

The NBA salary cap is the driver of a player’s trade value. A team can only fit so much salary into their roster so players that are underpaid compared to their production have outsized value through trades.

Almost every contender has maxed out their cap space which forces them to bargain hunt in free agency or scour the buy-out market in season. Wood is one of the lone impact players that could be added without eschewing an entire roster’s worth of rotation players just to match salaries.

James Harden landed the Rockets four first-round picks and four pick-swaps, and while Wood won’t land a return that robust, he could easily secure the franchise multiple first-round picks and an intriguing young player at the very least. If the Rockets are serious about a drawn-out rebuild, moving Wood, while he has maximum value, would be the smart move, no matter how painful.

Next: Trading Wood now is what's best for the Rockets

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