Houston Rockets: How good is Christian Wood’s contract?
Christian Wood’s contract is one of the best in the NBA. He’s in his prime, he’s a top-50ish player, and he’s making $28 million over the next two seasons. At the end of the day, his contract is what drives his trade value.
The teams that would be most interested in Wood are playoff teams in need of an extra boost. One thing most playoff teams have in common is that they’re above the NBA’s salary cap and close to or exceeding the luxury tax. When teams are above the salary cap they usually don’t look to add salary, and in some cases, per NBA rules, they cannot.
This quirk is what makes Wood’s contract so valuable. In most trades, the salary exchanged between teams has to be relatively equal. Trading out a $40 million per season contract usually means taking back $40 million in salary. Salary and performance are heavily tied, which makes Wood’s $13.6 million so tantalizing in a trade.
Take the Lakers trade for Russell Westbrook this summer as an example. Russell Westbrook is better individually than Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell but the Lakers had to jettison three quality NBA players just to match salaries. Regardless of Westbrook’s trade value, the Lakers essentially had to offload $40 million in salary, which is a whole lot of talent
This is what makes Wood’s minimal salary so valuable. He fits into the books, but the receiving team won’t have to offload multiple core contributors to land him. He’s the rare impact player that can be acquired without blowing up a roster midseason. That’s incredibly valuable, especially for a team competing for a championship.