Will it be Matisse Thybulle, who started 50 games at the position last season before falling out of favor with the team in the playoffs? Or how about something more outside of the box, like kicking James Harden to small forward and giving a player like Shake Milton a spot in the starting backcourt next to Tyrese Maxey?
It all but certainly won’t be Danny Green, at least not early on in the season, as his torn ACL will all but certainly keep him out for much of the regular season at the very least.
Well, what if, instead of moving Harden to the small forward, the Sixers opt to move Tobias Harris to small forward in the pursuit of a bigger frontcourt featuring more athleticism on the boards without sacrificing any outside shooting?
That idea, though far from the consensus, has started to gain some traction among fans on the internet and has led to more than a few hypothetical targets that are becoming quite popular indeed.
One of those players is Christian Wood, the one-time Philadelphia 76ers forward who is about to enter the final year of his contract with the Houston Rockets. The only problem? If the Rockets are open to moving Wood, which they might not be, considering they are currently in talks to give him an extension, it’s hard to see a deal involving Sixers players that makes sense for the franchise.
All things considered, that’s actually a pretty good value for a combo big who averaged 19.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game over the past two seasons. Factor in Wood’s newfound efficiency from deep as a spot-up shooter, making 38.4 percent of his shots from deep on five attempts per game over the past two seasons, and the player Kevin O’Connor once called the most versatile big man in the NBA could conceivably fill a role on pretty much any team in the association – including the Philadelphia 76ers.
Now granted, some may take issue with the idea of acquiring another center to play between Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris if for no other reason than the flashbacks to Al Horford in a red, white, and blue jersey it may trigger, but that thought process is silly, as the two are very different players in very different spots in their careers. Unlike Horford, who pretty much exclusively played center during his NBA prime, Wood has played alongside everyone from Andre Drummond to Blake Griffin, Alperen Şengün, and Brook Lopez and has remained effective regardless of the role.
No, the problem with acquiring Wood is almost exclusively related to what the Rockets would want back in a trade, which is probably high draft picks and/or promising young players – neither of which the Sixers are particularly flush with.
Unless the Rockets really like Matisse Thybulle, who isn’t that much of an upgrade over Jae’Sean Tate, or have a thing for Jaden Springer, the Sixers just don’t have the sort of young talent to attach to cap filler in order to make a deal. The Rockets don’t want to take on Tobias Harris’ contract, not unless it’s in a deal for John Wall, and piecing together multiple contracts belonging to Georges Niang, Furkan Korkmaz, and/or Danny Green would likely require more draft picks than the Sixers would be willing to surrender.
Unless the Sixers can somehow execute a three-team deal that sends Thybulle to Chicago – who reportedly like him – Colby White to Houston, and Christian Wood back to Philly, there just isn’t a deal that feels agreeable for both sides.
Would it be fun to see Christian Wood come back to the Philadelphia 76ers? You bet; the pride of UNLV has become a very good player at the NBA level, and it’s always nice to see a homegrown prospect make a good return to where it all began. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be a viable trade that the Houston Rockets would accept to make that happen, not unless Daryl Morey wants to cash it all in for a player who probably shouldn’t be the team’s top target this offseason. Better to hope Paul Reed becomes the next Christian Wood than pay up big for a potentially redundant player.
source: Section 215