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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James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets and Kevin Porter Jr. #3 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets and Kevin Porter Jr. #3 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets: What would trading Christian Wood means for next season

If the Rockets do go ahead and trade Christian Wood, their 2021-22 season, regardless of who they land in the draft, won’t be pretty. However, the Rockets outright own their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks and it makes sense for them to aggressively tank within that window as they still owe the Oklahoma City Thunder two top-four protected picks in 2024 and 2026 and a 2025 first-round pick swap.

The Rockets’ window to tank is effectively over the next two seasons, which are the final two years of Wood’s deal. Giving up a player of his talent would hurt the Rockets tremendously but it’s the best way for the franchise to get back into contention.

Tanking has become a dirty word in sports circles, but until the major American professional sports leagues stop rewarding ineptitude, franchises will continue to bottom out in the hopes of building a competitive roster in the future. Teams have championship windows but they have tanking windows as well.

The Rockets’ window to tank is in 2022 and 2023. They need to seize the moment and tank their hardest over the next two seasons so they can have a real championship window come 2025. If they’re able to land high lottery picks over the next three seasons and coupled with the Brooklyn Nets picks coming their way the Rockets will have a chance to have one of the best young teams in the entire NBA.

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Christian Wood is a very good NBA player and his presence alone will make it harder for the Rockets to bottom out when they really need to. The assets he could bring back in a trade when combined with their war chest of picks would put them in a position to acquire a superstar right as their roster is ready to compete again.

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