DALLAS MAVERICKS trade Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss, Boban Marjanovic, and the #26 pick in 2022 to the HOUSTON ROCKETS for Christian Wood.
(This trade can’t be finalized until after the draft on June 23rd; the Mavericks will make the selection of the #26 pick for the Rockets)
HOW THIS IMPACTS THE MAVERICKS
Whether or not Wood is exceedingly productive for the Mavericks, this is exactly the kind of trade a team that just fell short of making the NBA Finals needs to make.
The Mavericks top 9 rotation players in 2022-23 would have been Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, Davis Bertans, Dwight Powell, Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber, and (assuming he re-signs with the team) Jalen Brunson. The 4 players traded for Wood would have had minimal if any impact for the Mavericks in a playoff series. Wood, however, would immediately upgrade that 9-man rotation by being able to replace either Bertans, Kleber, or Powell, depending on the matchup.
The 4 players traded were also all on expiring contracts; it’s unlikely that any of them were part of the team’s long-term plans. But they did combine for 1543 minutes last year, and now some of those minutes can go to the young developing players on the end of the bench like Josh Green and Frank Nkitilina.
Wood is also on an expiring contract, for $14.3m. If Wood isn’t a good fit, is unproductive, or is injured yet again, the Mavericks can either trade him at the deadline or just bury him on the bench and they’ll be no worse off than they were before. A common concern with deals like these is whether the incoming player could disrupt the team’s culture and/or chemistry. But this team revolves so much around Doncic and his other teammates so clearly understand their roles in supporting him that there’s very little risk of disruption from just one new player.
Best case scenario is that Wood continues to improve, develops chemistry with Doncic, and limits the stretches where he either drifts, pouts, or puts his own agenda above the team. However, this will be the best team by far that Wood’s ever played on (in his first 7 seasons his teams were a pathetic 79-147 when he played, missing the playoffs each year), making it difficult to project how he will react. The eternal questions in these types of situations persist: (1) was Wood one of the reasons those teams were bad, or were they so bad that no matter how well he played it didn’t help, and (2) would Wood have been as productive on a winning team, or is he a ‘good stats / bad team’ guy?
HOW THIS IMPACTS THE ROCKETS
For the Rockets, this is all about the #26 pick. It’s a chance to take advantage of what looks like a deep draft and add another young talent who could establish himself as a rotation player and part of the team’s young core. The Rockets are already selecting at #3 and #17; who they get with those picks will have some influence on which direction they go at #26. They could be looking at big men like Walker Kessler or Christian Koloko, sweet shooting wings like Dalen Terry or EJ Liddell, or lead guards like Kennedy Chandler or JD Davison. With 7 first round picks in 2 years, the Rockets youth movement will be out in full force.
Moving Wood, who was probably not part of the long-term plan, also frees up minutes for young players like Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba, and Kenyon Martin Jr. who will be expected to take on bigger roles in 2022-23.
The veterans that were acquired are all on expiring contracts. They could net additional assets at the trade deadline, while in the interim providing a much-needed veteran presence on the bench. Eric Gordon and John Wall, the only other players on the roster over age 30, are likely to be moved at some point before season’s end.