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Is Christian Wood a realistic option for C's in free agency?

/ by Darren Hartwell
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Rumors are swirling about the Boston Celtics potentially trading picks ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, but their work won't stop on Nov. 18.

The Celtics also could be active in free agency, which begins Nov. 20. And don't be surprised if you hear Christian Wood's name pop up.

Boston reportedly tried to trade for the Detroit Pistons forward prior to the 2020 NBA trade deadline, and The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor believes that's a sign the C's may pursue Wood in free agency this offseason.

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"Before the trade deadline, league sources said that the Celtics and Rockets inquired about dealing for Wood," O'Connor wrote. "No agreement was reached, but it’s worth noting those discussions as an indicator of a potential free agent pursuit."

Wood is one of the more intriguing players in free agency: The 25-year-old went undrafted in 2015 but broke out with the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2018-19 season and averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Detroit Pistons last season despite playing just 21.4 minutes per game.

Wood could fit nicely in Boston as an upgrade over Enes Kanter should the big man decline his player option and test free agency. How the Celtics may acquire the UNLV product is a bit less clear, however.

 

ESPN's Bobby Marks recently predicted Wood could earn around the $9.3 million midlevel exception in 2020-21, but his age and upside could drive that price tag north of $10 million.

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The C's won't have the cap space to absorb that contract (unless Gordon Hayward declines his $34.1 million player option), so they may have to execute a sign-and-trade for Wood.

ESPN's Zach Lowe recently reported the Pistons prefer to operate as a "dumping ground for unwanted salaries, hoarding picks in the process." Boston has three first-round selections but few albatross contracts outside Hayward's, so a deal may take some negotiating on Danny Ainge's part.