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Report: Pelicans claim Christian Wood off waivers

Christian Wood, Pelicans

Christian Wood wasn’t left without an NBA home for very long. The New Orleans Pelicans picked up the journeyman big man off waivers on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, barely more than 24 hours after he was released by the Milwaukee Bucks:

The Pelicans waived veteran big man Jason Smith to make room.

Wood was waived by Milwaukee on Tuesday to accommodate the signing of point guard Tim Frazier, who he beat out for one of the Bucks’ final roster spots during training camp.

Milwaukee’s justification for moving on from Wood in favor of Frazier is perhaps related solely to injuries. Starting shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon is out indefinitely after suffering a partial tear of his plantar fascia last week, while reserve guards Sterling Brown and Donte DiVincenzo, the team’s first-round pick last June, are also sidelined by injury. The Bucks also boast one of the deepest frontcourts in basketball, as evidenced by recent signee and future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol recently being taken out of Mike Budenholzer’s rotation, though Nikola Mirotic’s thumb injury doesn’t help matters.

Wood, undrafted out of UNLV in 2015, played in 13 games for Milwaukee this season, last appearing on March 2. He spent most of his time with the organization in the G League, dominating for the Wisconsin Herd en route to 29.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game.

It makes sense for New Orleans to take a flier on Wood as the regular season winds down. The team not only has a hole up front due to the indeterminate nightly status of stranded superstar Anthony Davis, but also needs as much playable talent as it can get on the cheap as New Orleans prepares for an inevitable rebuild. Wood, 23, has a non-guaranteed $1.6 million contract for the 2019-20 season.

This move also gives the Bucks some breathing room under the luxury tax.