The Houston Rockets are on the verge of being a much better team than they were in 2021. However, they still need to make a few more moves before we actually acknowledge a turnaround is taking place.
One move that seems like it would be counterproductive but would actually help is evaluating what offers Christian Wood could bring on the trade market.
Wood is coming off a great season that built upon the improvements he showed when he first arrived with the Rockets. Houston's leading big man was able to improve his efficency from range in 2021 while also showing up in 68 games, which is a welcomed sight for a guy that needed to be on the court more.
Houston could let it ride with Wood for one more season and see if there is a reason to consider keeping him beyond this current contract, but it seems like the better move could be shopping the 26-year old that has all of the traits that should make him a popular trade piece this offseason.
Moving on from Wood without a succession plan would be foolish, but Rockets fans have to recognize that Alperen Sengun gives the team a mountain of flexibility, especially as he gets to play more.
Wood might make the team better right now, but Sengun growing puts the team in a better position down the road. The Rockets need to have some confidence in the picks they have made and will continue to make in a high volume going forward, and Wood doesn't feel like enough of a need after the bright rookie season that we saw from Sengun.
There is also a chance that Houston ends up with a center in the upcoming draft, and it seems unlikely to assume that Sengun would then become the odd man out. If the Rockets do know who they want beyond a shadow of a doubt due to favorable lottery luck, moving Wood could become all but guarenteed.
Christian Wood was great for two years. He brought a presence and stability that the Rockets genuinely needed during these transition years, but a trade is likely in the best interest of both parties before either loses their leverage.
The Rockets may want to act sooner rather than later.