The Rockets' case for trading Christian Wood
Wood’s trade value is tied up in his contract and with each passing game, his value diminishes. In the offseason, the Rockets likely could have landed the equivalent of two first-round picks, now they’d be lucky to get that type of return.
While Wood’s productive seasons will likely overlap with the beginning of the Rockets young core’s prime, his cheap seasons will not. Add in the fact that a Wood extension could be contentious, and the Rockets could be in a situation where they either overpay to keep Wood or lose him for nothing.
For as gifted an offensive player as Wood is, Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun could soon surpass him. According to FiveThirtyEight’s wins above replacement metric, Sengun has been the third-best rookie on offense. Wood blocking Sengun in the short term isn’t horrible, but it’s not a tenable long-term solution. Sengun’s emergence makes Wood expendable and the Rockets should cash in those chips while they still can.
While there is no wrong answer to the question, should the Rockets trade Christian Wood, there are wrong reasons. If you believe Wood will continue to improve through his prime, then keeping him around is a no-brainer. If you believe Wood is close to a finished product and want to cash in when his value is still high, then trading him is the right course of action. If you think he's a scrub and needs to go, you're sorely mistaken. If you think Wood is deserving of a max contract, you need to see a professional.
If the Rockets trade Christian Wood and land a solid return they’ll have made a good decision. If they keep him and sign him to a fair extension they’ll have made a good decision. The only mistake is doing neither.