After moving all-in on the centerless smallball, the Rockets went all out on Friday to land their next cross, shooting their first target, Pistons free agent Christian Wood
The Rockets have reached a deal with Wood and the Pistons on a three-season, $ 41 million signing-and-trade deal, two people familiar with the deal said. ESPN was the first to report the deal
Timber will be part of this week’s trade in which the Rockets sent Trevor Ariza and the Trail Blazers first-round pick in Wednesday’s Pistons draft for a future first-round pick
The Rockets coveted Wood as the centerpiece of their off-season retooling due to a variety of skills that not only match the way they look to play with star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but also the how they hope to evolve the offense under new coach Stephen Silas
Wood, a 6-10 center / forward with a 73-inch wingspan who flourished as he grew strong enough to play in the middle, has the range with a quick release to bring in the spacing that the Rockets wanted with their small lineups season, especially for Westbrook
He’s also a top pick-and-roll point guard and finisher who should work with Harden.He averages 15 points per pick-and-roll possession, the most NBA player count this season last among players who starred in at least two pick-and-rolls per game
He also demonstrated an ability to attack fences as last season progressed with the Pistons, reaching the rim after dribbling and finishing well with a mixture of length and strength.
This variety of skills, along with the ability to switch defensively, made Wood an obvious choice for the Rockets and the most compelling choice to pursue in a center-filled free agent class.
It’s less certain that the addition of a center that started last season slated to make its way onto the Pistons roster at training camp and who has been on five teams and two teams in the G League in four seasons would help convince Harden and Westbrook it would be well served to stay
The risk is that Wood will become such a coveted free agent with just one impressive season and the move will leave the Rockets to fill the roster with minimal contracts or free agent transactions.
The Rockets returned to the luxury tax for the second time this week and are $ 9 million from being capped, which would significantly limit options in future deals, with nine players under contract, not counting Unwritten free agents who accepted offers this week But with the deal with Wood, the Rockets effectively traded Robert Covington for Wood and two first-round draft picks in five days
The Rockets had attempted to trade for lumber in February before it took off after the trade deadline, dramatically improving its stock before going free
Wood, 25, 13, averaging 1 points and 63 rebounds in 214 minutes per game last season He took off when he joined the starting lineup after the Andre Drummond trade, averaging 219 points and 94 rebounds as a starter while making 56% of his shots, 408 percent of his 3 while trying almost four 3 points per game
Wood was not drafted by the UNLV in 2015 as a thin 20-year-old with a suspicious shot He signed with the Rockets’ summer league team but was injured and did not play Still an effective finisher, his improved strength allowed him to get in a better position to score His shooting range came next
That made him one of the best crosses available, but the opening hours of the free agent market saw crosses rally quickly, with many going to the Pistons, to make the Rockets’ pursuit of Wood. more difficult, but also make him less likely to return to Detroit where he enjoyed his decisive season
With so many centers – Meyers Leonard, Derrick Favors, Mason Plumlee – all accepting offers worth around $ 9.3million mid-level exception that the Rockets have to offer, there was growing potential. that it would take ceiling space the Rockets don’t have or a more complicated signing and trade deal for anyone to land lumber
Leonard, a potential Rockets target depending on how things turned out, was one of the first to strike a deal The Rockets were unlikely to start there, but the price he has Took for the Heat to bring him back, $ 20million over two years, could have established the market for other centers they could pursue
Although the Heat bring Leonard back with a Bird exception, his contract is worth roughly the equivalent of the larger mid-level exception, starting at $ 9.3 million, could increase what it would take to sign a ‘other free agent centers
Over the night, Derrick Favors agreed to a similar deal to leave the Pelicans and return to Jazz and his former role as Rudy Gobert replacement Clippers center Montrezl Harrell, the former Rockets’ draft pick and the sixth man of the year this season, has accepted a full mid-level deal to move down the lane to join the Lakers champion
The price of crosses became evident when Plumlee, another potential Rockets target, went from the Nuggets to the Pistons for $ 25 million over three years
The Pistons, at that point, seemed certain to move Wood forward. The Rockets made sure it was for them
Jonathan Feigen has been the Rockets’ beat-maker since 1998 and a basketball enthusiast since before Willis Reed limped for Game 7 He became a sports writer because the reporter who was supposed to cover the University of Delaware basketball team decided to play one more season of college lacrosse instead and never looked back.
Feigen, who won the APSE, APME and United States Basketball Writers Association awards from El Campo in Houston, came to Texas in 1981 to cover the Rice Birds, was a sports writer at Garland before moving to Dallas to cover everything from the South West Conference hurray final to SMU after the death penalty
After joining the Houston Chronicle in 1990, Feigen covered the demise of the SWC, the rise of the Big 12 and the Rockets to their best level
World News – USA – Rockets add Christian Wood in free agency