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Houston Rockets: 3 Realistic Trades of Christian Wood

N.B. Lindberg
Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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P.J. Washington, Houston Rockets
Detroit Pistons v Charlotte Hornets / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Houston Rockets Christian Wood Trade #3

Swapping P.J. Washington for Christian Wood is a move that benefits both the Rockets and Hornets in the short and long term. It’s the rare win-win for two franchises at different stages of their rebuild. 

The Hornets have one of the worst defenses in the league, 27th in defensive rating, and one of the best offenses, 3rd in offensive rating. Wood won’t help much on the defensive end but could be a perfect offensive fit. 

Wood was at his best with an excellent pick-and-roll artist, and LaMelo Ball is one of the best in the league. A Ball-Wood pick-and-roll could be one of the most lethal in the league and make an already exciting team even more breathtaking. 

While Wood isn’t an excellent defensive center, he could provide a minimal boost for the Hornets. P.J. Washington and Mason Plumlee have been their two most used centers. Washington is 6’8 and more of a power forward, and Plumlee is a journeyman for a reason. 

The Hornets should be receptive to moving Washington because they’ll need to extend Miles Bridges this offseason and Washington will also be extension eligible. With a Ball extension coming down the pike, the Hornets may opt for financial flexibility and view Washington’s next contract as a bit too much. Wood being cost-controlled next season also adds value for a team looking to continue their upward trajectory. 

The appeal for the Rockets in this deal is they get a young player that fits an area of need. He’ll be extension eligible but the Rockets shouldn’t be shy about extending him. If Eric Gordon is moved and with John Wall coming off the books after next season the Rockets will have plenty of cap space to dish Washington’s way when an extension kicks in. 

Washington is a career 38.8% 3-point shooter and has improved each season beyond the arc. He can play power forward and small-ball center which will allow the Rockets to use him creatively. Lineup built around Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Washington could quickly become excellent offensive units. 

Plumlee is included for salary purposes, and if the Hornets need a more traditional center there are always a plethora of buyout options to fill that need. The Hornets may be more interested in Myles Turner if he becomes available, but he’s more expensive and will cost a lot more to acquire.

This trade works for both parties and if Turner isn’t an option then Wood is the next best fit. 

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