It could be a busy week or so regarding trades in the NBA with the draft next Thursday. The first big move came on Wednesday night when it was reported that the Houston Rockets were trading center Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks – somewhat of a rare deal between the in-state and Southwest Division rivals. The SportsLine Projection has the Mavericks improving by 2.2 wins for next season via this trade and the Rockets 5.2 wins worse. The trade will not be finalized until the NBA Draft.
Dallas is sending Boban Marjanovic, Marquese Chriss, Trey Burke, and Sterling Brown to Houston along with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2022 draft. All of those players are expendable for the Mavericks and are essentially salary filler. One of their primary goals this offseason was to improve at center after largely getting pounded on the boards in their Western Conference Finals loss to Golden State.
The 26-year-old Wood averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 68 games with Houston during the 2021-22 season, one of nine players in the NBA to average at least 17 points and 10 rebounds. Wood is set to make $14.3 million for the 2022-23 season, the final year of his contract. The Mavericks will be his seventh team since debuting in the NBA. Wood has become a much better three-point shooter and his 131 makes from beyond the arc this past season matched his total from the previous two seasons combined.
Wood isn't a great defender. Opponents have made 63 percent of their attempts in the restricted area with Wood as the defender, putting him in the bottom third of big men who have defended at least 500 such shots.
Houston probably wasn't going to re-sign Wood because it has a promising young big man in Alperen Sengun, the No. 16 overall pick in last year's draft, and will likely take another forward in Duke's Paolo Banchero with the No. 3 overall pick next week. Banchero is a -450 favorite to be the No. 3 pick. Houston also has the No. 17 overall pick.
The model does "admit" that the Rockets' drop-off will be less severe following the draft in large part due to that No. 3 pick. CBS Sports' Jack Maloney gives Dallas an A grade for this deal and Houston a B+.
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