One NBA executive believes the Miami Heat could be a wild card for free agent big man Christian Wood this offseason.
The executive explained that Miami could open up enough space to offer Wood a contract that is greater than the league minimum if the team makes a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for seven-time All-Star guard Damian Lillard.
“There is no reason for him to hurry, the roster spots are there and unless there is a chance the [Los Angeles] Lakers make a move to sign someone else, why not wait to see if something better becomes available?” one league exec told Heavy Sports. “What if Miami makes the Lillard trade and winds up with a little more (luxury-tax) space? They could make a better offer. Not a ton more, but it is not the minimum. That’s the wildcard for (Wood).”
It was recently reported that the Lakers believe they are the best landing spot for Wood this offseason, but they can only offer him a minimum deal at this juncture.
The Heat are the favorites to land Lillard in a deal, but the Blazers appear to be holding out for the best offer possible. Since Lillard has four more years remaining on his contract, the Blazers don’t have to be in a rush to move the star guard this offseason.
He spent last season playing mainly a bench role for Dallas, averaging 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game for the Mavs while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Wood is a terrific offensive player, and he can stretch the floor from a big man spot, which could be valuable to Miami. However, he has a negative defensive box plus/minus for his career and posted his two best scoring seasons on Rockets teams that were among the worst in the NBA.
If the Heat are forced to give up multiple rotation pieces for Lillard, adding a player like Wood could help mitigate that loss since he would be able to contribute right away.
Plus, the Heat may be able to get Wood to buy into Heat culture and help him improve on the defensive end. It may be a wild card option, but this NBA executive won’t count Miami out just yet in the Wood market.