Rockets land Christian Wood in sign-and-trade with Pistons

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /

The Houston Rockets are adding Christian Wood via sign-and-trade.

Christian Wood was one of the most attractive, young NBA free agents on the market this offseason, and while the Houston Rockets didn’t appear to be much of a match heading into free agency, they’re making their final pitch to keep a disgruntled James Harden happy.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets have agreed to sign Wood to a three-year, $41 million deal.

Because Houston is short on cap space, the move will be executed via sign-and-trade:

Christian Wood is a big addition for the desperate Rockets

When Houston shipped off Robert Covington to the Portland Trail Blazers and then dumped Trevor Ariza on the Detroit Pistons, it felt like general manager Rafael Stone was acknowledging that this franchise needed to brace for a rebuild. It felt like it was only a matter of time before James Harden and Russell Westbrook would be traded too.

But as much as a Westbrook trade is still a foregone conclusion, the Rockets don’t need to trade their franchise superstar in Harden, and they certainly don’t want to. As long as they have the Beard, they have a perennial MVP candidate and, most likely, a playoff team.

Adding a 25-year-old stretch-4 like Wood can help them in the pursuit of another postseason berth as they try to keep Harden happy. This Rockets team has a lot to figure out between now and the start of next season, especially with a new head coach at the helm in Stephen Silas, but Wood is a talented player who can help them win now and will be useful in the event Houston is forced to blow it all up.

In 13 games following Detroit’s Andre Drummond trade last year, Wood put up 22.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 56.2 percent shooting from the floor and 40 percent shooting from 3-point range. It was a small sample size but provided a tantalizing flash of what he could do in a starting role. Now the Rockets will be hoping he can do the same in Clutch City to salvage a tough situation with Harden.

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