Houston Rockets’ big man Christian Wood is a prime trade candidate this NBA offseason. He brings a compelling, versatile offensive game to the table in being able to score in the paint, puts the ball on the floor and hits three-pointers.
Recent reports state that Wood will be a sought-after player on the trade market, which comes as no surprise. The 26-year-old is on an expiring contract and has experienced exponential growth in his game of late. In the midst of a deep-rooted rebuild, the Rockets figure to be receptive to trade offers for their best player.
Here are three ideal trade destinations for Wood.
3. Christian Wood to the San Antonio Spurs
- Spurs get: Christian Wood and Houston’s 2026 second-round draft pick
- Rockets get: Josh Richardson and No. 9 pick
The Spurs face a pivotal offseason, as they haven’t reached the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs since 2019. Meanwhile, they hold the No. 9 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and have $20-plus million in cap space. Acquiring Wood substantially enhances their chances of returning to the playoffs.
Head coach Gregg Popovich’s rotation needs offensive variety. Wood helps them accomplish that aim. Dejounte Murray does a little bit of everything. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell can score from the perimeter and shoot off the dribble. Jakob Poeltl is a sturdy center.
Murray attacks and creates off the dribble while Johnson and Vassell shoot off the dribble. All the while, Wood scores inside and outside while also putting the ball on the floor. His outside shooting improves a Spurs team that lacked in that regard this season. Everyone can play to their strengths in this offense.
- Christian Wood stats (2021-22): 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and one block per game while shooting 50.1/39.0/62.3
The No. 9 pick holds little value for the Spurs, as they already have a great deal of youth and former first-round draft picks in the building. From Houston’s perspective, they end up with another top-10 pick, which could be used to move up.
All that said, the Spurs may prefer to sign a frontcourt scorer in free agency and/or use the No. 9 pick in a trade for such a player.
2. Christian Wood to the Portland Trail Blazers
- Trail Blazers get: Christian Wood and Houston’s 2024 second-round draft pick
- Rockets get: Eric Bledsoe and No. 7 pick
The Trail Blazers are looking to reboot their Western Conference standing after an awful 2021-22 season (Portland missed the playoffs, traded CJ McCollum and was without Damian Lillard for most of the season due to an abdominal injury). Making a play for Wood would help get them back on track.
At full force, Portland should have a firing offense next season. Lillard is one of the 10 best players in the NBA. Anfernee Simons showcased the ability to be a leading scorer after McCollum was traded. Josh Hart is a sly player who hits the boards. Those three make for a dynamic perimeter attack. Wood supplements that strong suit.
The big man would play off the aforementioned guards. He can begin offensive sets in the paint, making his way out to the three-point line when Lillard or Simons attack the rack. Wood gives Portland three-point shooting, someone who can defend the rim and helps give head coach Chauncey Billups a multifaceted offense.
- Christian Wood contract per Spotrac: final season of a three-year, $41 million deal
Portland would be sacrificing their own first-rounder and Bledsoe for Wood. Houston would have two of the first seven selections in the draft (they already select third) and could look to reroute Bledsoe.
The factor that could stop the Trail Blazers from acquiring Wood, though, is them preferring to sign a big man in free agency and use the No. 7 pick on another frontcourt starter.
1. Christian Wood to the Charlotte Hornets
- Hornets get: Christian Wood and Houston’s 2024 second-round draft pick
- Rockets get: Mason Plumlee, Kai Jones and No. 13 pick
The Hornets are one of the more exciting young teams in the NBA — except they’ve been eviscerated in the NBA Play-in Tournament in back-to-back years. Charlotte needs to make an impact move this offseason. It also needs a head coach. Trading for Wood makes a lot of sense.
The Hornets have a lot of speed and wing depth. LaMelo Ball is a budding star. Terry Rozier is a scrappy, two-way guard. Miles Bridges is coming off a breakout season as the team’s leading scorer. Kelly Oubre and P.J. Washington are athletic frontcourt players. Upgrading at center is the way the Hornets can tangibly improve this offseason.
Wood’s arrival presumably gives the Hornets a starting group of five players who can score on their own. He provides more length, a versatile scorer and an upgrade at center. Wood beefs up a monotonous part of Charlotte’s depth chart and adds even more electricity to a vibrant offensive attack.
Charlotte surrenders Plumlee, the better of its two first-rounders in this year’s draft and Jones, who they traded up for last season. The Hornets have to start winning, which means bypassing Jones’ development.
From the Rockets’ point of view, they get another young big man to pair with Alperen Sengun and another lottery selection.