The 2022 NBA trade deadline has been every bit as exciting as one may have hoped for. It's not even Thursday yet and many of the major players have already been moved. To add even more gas to the fire, there are rumors of a potential Ben Simmons-James Harden trade being negotiated at the time of writing. Then, we have the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets have long put it out there that they were expecting a quiet trade deadline. Despite expectations around the league that veteran Eric Gordon will be moved, those around the team have insisted otherwise. The same has been been true of Christian Wood. However, all logic suggests Houston should move at least one of the two helpful role players.
Gordon, who turned 33 years old this season, is having a resurgent campaign statistically and is a proven playoff weapon. Not only does he have experience in some of the biggest NBA playoff games of last decade, he provides two-way impact few role players around the league can lay claim to. Of the remaining available players on the market, only Jerami Grant or Harrison Barnes can claim to have more value.
As far as Christian Wood, things are obviously a little different. Not only does Wood not have proven experience on a winning team, it doesn't seem like Houston is willing to move him unless the offer really blows them away. When you factor in character concerns, it's possible teams are offering the Rockets deals under his market value. If that's the case, they're probably correct in standing pat with Wood.
Houston Rockets trade deadline update
Eric Gordon destinations
Interestingly enough, the market for Eric Gordon is still as ripe as it was before all of these deals went down. This is because the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only possible Gordon destination that found an alternative solution. Every other team has yet to resolve their need for a wing.
More specifically, the teams to keep an eye on are the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Lakers. Utah needs to replace Joe Ingles' bench production, Dallas needs to do the same with Tim Hardaway Jr., Chicago needs reinforcement on the wing, Minnesota could use an upgrade on Patrick Beverley, and the Lakers need all the help they can get.
The team to watch most closely right now is the Jazz. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Utah has expressed interest in trading for Gordon. Per Scotto, the team has dangled Ingles' expiring salary and a first-round pick in search of an upgrade. Gordon, who has torched the Jazz in consecutive playoff series, would certainly qualify as an upgrade on the wing.
Christian Wood's market
As stated before, it does appear that Christian Wood's market value is a bit deflated right now. Wood could certainly help a playoff team as a starting-caliber center who's very skilled offensively, but his last run-in with head coach Stephen Silas may have soured some around the league on Wood. With two seasons remaining on a reasonable contract, it would not be prudent for Houston to part with Wood for anything less than two late first-round picks or one lottery pick. As of now, it doesn't look like that will be available for Wood this deadline.
However, if there are teams that could use Wood, it would be the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets. Both teams are in the territory of the play-in tournament and are without a strong starting center. Toronto has been throwing out a three-wing lineup all season and Charlotte is starting Mason Plumlee right now. It's possible that both teams will opt for a cheaper option on the market like Daniel Theis (ironically also on the Rockets).
However, if they were to pursue a premium option, it appears that Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is unlikely to be moved, which means the best realistically available center on the market right now is probably Wood.
A wild card to keep an eye on is Sacramento Kings big man Richaun Holmes. After acquiring Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento has a logjam in the frontcourt with Harrison Barnes, Holmes, and Sabonis. One way they could quickly solve that is by dealing Holmes and allowing Barnes to slot in at power forward. If Holmes is on the market, those two teams could get their premium center without Houston's help. He's a better defender than Wood and under a longer-term contract.
Ultimately, it's still unlikely Houston parts with Wood, but those two teams are worth monitoring as potential suitors. There's still a day left for the Rockets to make trades, so we'll see if they ultimately follow through on a quiet deadline.