The Houston Rockets have been one of the worst teams in the NBA over the past two years. Ever since James Harden left, this Southwest Division team hasn't been able to achieve success.
While the Rockets have a lot of young and talented players, no one has been good enough to replace Harden. They finished the season with only 20 wins, which was the worst record in the entire league.
Fortunately, the Houston Rockets have two draft picks in the 2022 NBA draft and will use them to improve their roster. The draft will take place on Thursday, June 23, and this could be a big day for the team.
There have been a lot of rumors lately about the Rockets trading Christian Wood. Even though Wood is a great player, they could find an upgrade over him through the draft.
This may be Christian Wood's last season with the Houston Rockets
Christian Wood is on an expiring contract and will be owed only $14.3 million next year. Considering that he is a fantastic player who is a double-double threat in every game, this contract is one of the Rockets' most valuable assets.
In 10 out of 11 NBA mock drafts, the Houston Rockets were projected to pick Paolo Banchero with the third overall pick. Banchero is a 6-foot-10 forward out of Duke, and he could be a perfect replacement for Wood.
Banchero averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game with the Duke Blue Devils last season and was one of the most impactful players. NBADraft.net compares him to Juwan Howard and Julius Randle, and some NBA scouts believe that he's the most complete player in the draft class.
If the Houston Rockets pick Paolo Banchero with their lottery pick, he could form a dangerous duo with Jalen Green. Green was one of the most impressive rookies last season as he averaged 17.3 points per game.
Forming this duo would make Christian Wood, another 6-foot-10 forward, expendable. Fortunately, the Rockets could trade him and get another valuable player in return.
The potential trade
The best season of Christian Wood's career came with the Rockets two years ago. The forward averaged 21.0 points per game on 51.4% shooting, which was impressive.
However, his time in Houston has probably come to an end. By trading his expiring contract, the Rockets could get some young players in return. Otherwise, getting his contract off the books in 2023 would clear up additional cap space.
Wood is a great player who could be a difference maker for many NBA contenders. Even before the trade deadline, many teams were interested in him, including the Miami Heat and the LA Lakers.
What makes Wood's contract such a valuable asset is that he is severely underpaid. While he will most likely get a much bigger contract in 2023, any team that trades for him will have a year to test him out and see how well he fits.
The Rockets and Christian Wood could possibly come out of this in a win-win situation, which would be ideal!