Surging Nets Floated as Trade Destination for $41M Sharpshooting Big Man

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Head coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets reacts to action on the court.

Time heals all wounds. Winning certainly also goes quite a long way toward healing the scars that losing keeps fresh. When the season began with the Brooklyn Nets going 2-5 coming off their tumultuous offseason, the only logical outcome seemed to be an inevitable blow-up of a core that never reached its full potential.

Flash forward, the Nets are 21-12 and sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with a shot at taking over sole possession of third with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 26.

But they could still get better under head coach Jacque Vaughn who has led them to the NBA’s best record since he took over. They are not great on the glass and could use a reliable third option on offense alongside the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Perhaps that could lead them to strike a deal for Christian Wood of the Dallas Mavericks.

Nets Could Capitalize

“The struggling Dallas Mavericks traded for Wood this past offseason and have received mixed results,” writes David Vertsberger for Yahoo! Sports. “Head coach Jason Kidd is only playing him 27.2 minutes per night, exhibiting little faith in his defense or ability to man the five spot.”

Nets Get:

Mavericks Get:

The Nets are boasting the seventh-best defensive rating since November 1.

Their trio of Nic Claxton, Ben Simmons, and Royce O’Neale gives them defenders at every level that should be able to cover up enough of Wood’s warts on defense.

But neither Claxton nor Simmons is a threat from outside of three feet and both have well-documented struggles at the free-throw line. O’Neale meanwhile is a two-way forward who is shooting over 42% from beyond the arc but offers little in the form of creation for himself or his teammates.

Brooklyn’s offense ranks fourth in that same span but lacks some versatility since their bigs don’t spread the floor like Wood who is averaging 17.3 points on 63.4 % true shooting with 8.0 rebounds and hitting 38% of his threes.

This deal would get the Nets some needed scoring – Claxton is currently third on the team at 11.8 PPG and is the only Nets player besides Durant and Irving averaging double figures.

Adding McGee gets Dallas off the hook for the remaining two years and $11 million on his deal.

“With Wood’s impending free agency the two parties likely aren’t going to last to the trade deadline, and the Nets can take advantage…It may not address all of their needs, but trading for Wood offers Brooklyn a legitimate talent jump…It shouldn’t be too high a cost given Wood’s market and contract length.”

Dallas Two-Step

Dallas has won three straight with two of their wins with Wood playing a big role in their most recent – a 124-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas. Wood had 30 points, eight boards, seven assists, four steals, and two blocks. He is also in the final year of a three-year, $41 million contract with his future in Dallas still far from settled.

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report notes teams are monitoring the situation.

“Dallas has yet to show any indication that he has been made available for a trade, but some teams believe that could change soon,” Haynes wrote. “The fit in Dallas hasn’t been the most fruitful, and Wood has publicly and privately petitioned for a bigger role.”

Of course, that was before the Mavs pushed their win streak to three games and before Wood’s monster performance on Christmas.

Nets Surge Needs More Power

The need for a third option on offense as well as some versatility in the frontcourt could make Wood an attractive target for Brooklyn. They have already been linked to the likes of embattled 32-year-old Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic and 24-year-old Orlando Magic big man Mo Bamba.

But the return on the investment in either of those options pales in comparison to what Wood, 27, can do. Bamba probably comes the closest and the second year of his two-year, $20.6 million deal doesn’t become fully guaranteed until September of next year.

Wood still has the longer track record, though, and figures to be a more seamless fit next to the breakout star in Claxton.

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