Wood, 27, is currently the NBA’s top free agent available.
As we’re nearing the three-week mark since the start of 2023 NBA Free Agency, there are still multiple free agents available who could positively impact myriad teams throughout the Association—the best one being forward Christian Wood.
While the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 13 players on their roster and are in search of another big man, are in contention for Wood’s services, the Miami Heat could emerge as a possible destination if a Damian Lillard trade is complete, per Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike.
“Sources also believe that the Miami heat could be a suitor for Wood,” wrote Woike. “Particularly if they’re able to pull off a Damian Lillard trade.”
Woike notes that the Heat was in the market for forward Dario Saric before he signed a minimum deal with the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.
Miami’s already added size to its frontcourt behind Bam Adebayo with the addition of Thomas Bryant plus converting Orlando Robinson to a standard contract. It also retained Kevin Love, who will presumably begin the season as the team’s starting power forward, to a two-year deal using his non-bird rights.
Both the Lakers and Heat would only be able to offer the veteran minimum to Wood.
The issue with that, Woike notes, is that it’s difficult for a veteran to build out their market after signing a minimum deal. He also writes there appears to be a “disconnect” between what Wood thinks his value is relative to “how the league as a whole” views him.
He cites the Chicago Bulls as another possible suitor. Chicago just obtained a $10.2 million disabled player exception in lieu of Lonzo Ball’s knee injury, which will prevent him from playing the 2023-24 season. It gives them an opportunity to add an injury replacement to a one-year contract.
Wood, 27, averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks on 51.5 percent shooting last season, including 37.6 percent from 3-point range and 77.2 percent from the free-throw line—equating to a 62.4 true-shooting percentage.
He has spent seven seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and, most recently, the Dallas Mavericks.