Christian Wood’s time with the Dallas Mavericks might prove to be short-lived. A free agent after this season, he is unlikely to make a return to the Mavs, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.
“Prime among current Mavericks who face uncertain futures are JaVale McGee (who failed to live up to the three-year, $17.2 million contract he commanded last summer), fan favorite Christian Wood (my up-to-minute sense is that the free agent-to-be will not be asked back after a Wood contract extension was raised as a possibility before the Irving trade) and [Tim] Hardaway [Jr.] (who has two seasons and $34.1 million left on his contract and was shopped without success at the last trade deadline in February),” wrote Stein on his Substack.
If Stein’s prediction turns out to be accurate, then Wood will be on his way to his eighth team since entering the league in 2015. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas product probably didn’t think that he would become a well-traveled journeyman at 27 years old.
After starting his NBA career as an undrafted rookie with the Philadelphia 76ers, Wood began showing his potential as a productive big man at the end of the 2018-19 season. In eight appearances with the New Orleans Pelicans in that campaign, he put up 16.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
Since then, the California native has averaged 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest. His best stretch came in a Houston Rockets uniform, for whom he contributed 19.1 points and 9.9 boards per match in two seasons.
It seems that Wood has the skills to help a contender, which Dallas probably saw last offseason. The franchise brought him in via trade, presumably to provide superstar Luka Doncic with additional offensive firepower.
Wood’s Mavs tenure got off to an impressive start, as he scored 24.3 points per game in his first three matches in the 2022-23 campaign. However, the center never really got his footing in Dallas, as the coaching staff didn’t trust him enough to play more than 25.9 minutes per game this season.
While there was no doubt about what he has brought to the table for the Mavs’ offense, his lack of defensive acumen made it easier for opponents to score on his squad.
Of course, Wood isn’t solely to blame for Dallas’ fall from grace.
At various points this season, the team had been competing for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, its gamble on trading for Kyrie Irving didn’t pay off.
The Mavs have officially been eliminated from the postseason and will try to regroup in the summer. However, Wood doesn’t look to be a part of their long-term plan.