Much of the Rockets’ roster seemed up for grabs as Thursday’s NBA trade deadline loomed.
But the one name that wasn’t in that mix was one-time journeyman center Christian Wood. The Rockets are quite pleased with their offseason acquisition and let trade suitors know that the 6-foot-10 Wood was off limits.
It’s a dramatic change for a guy who went undrafted in 2015, who once considered giving up basketball when he was cut by a team in China and who has been on six NBA rosters during his seven years as a pro.
While Wood is not a trade option, the Rockets did manage to pull off a trade for veteran Victor Oladipo, who was sent to Miami prior to Thursday’s 2 p.m. NBA trade deadline.
“I think it is my first time basically being untouchable,” Wood said. “It’s a crazy journey. I don’t take this for granted. I’m happy to be here. I go out every game and I try to play it like it’s my last. I give it my all because this is a great opportunity for anybody.”
After bouncing around the league, Wood began to show signs of substantial growth last season in Detroit. It’s only continued during his short time here, despite missing 19 games due to an ankle injury.
Wood, who is clearly the cornerstone for the rebuilding Rockets going forward, is averaging 21.4 points and 9.8 rebounds this season.
“I don’t think anybody has been through the journey that I’ve been through in terms of the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows,” Wood said. “So I take a lot of pride in just being here, just being resilient, just having that chip on my shoulder to not back down from anything.”
Rockets’ first-year coach Stephen Silas says Wood’s story is that of incredible resilience and substantial growth. The two first encountered each other when Silas was an assistant on his father’s Charlotte Hornets staff and Wood was a second-year player trying to figure it out and stick with the team.
“It’s amazing,” Silas said. “There are so many of these stories that go the other way, about a guy who gets knocked down and he kind of just stays down.
“To see his perseverance, especially since I was with him earlier in Charlotte and the growth that he has had. He has always had that belief in himself but to kind of see his ability to fight through the adversity regardless of what other people thought about him, he still had that belief in himself. That’s a great thing to see and be a part of for me.”