Dallas knew it needed a difference-maker at the center position.

And after Wednesday, the Mavericks got their player. In a trade with the Houston Rockets, the Dallas Mavericks acquired forward/center Christian Wood for the No. 26 pick in the 2022 NBA draft, Boban MarjanovicMarquese ChrissTrey Burke and Sterling Brown.

Wood averaged 19.1 points and 9.9 rebounds during his two seasons with the Rockets. He is due to make $14.3 million for the 2022-23 season, the final year of his contract. However, it should be noted that on Wednesday he underwent surgery on his knee and is expected to start rehab soon.

Dallas’ grade and what does it means moving forward? 

Grade: A

Why: Wood is a versatile big man that can score at all three levels of the floor. In two seasons with the Rockets, he’s shot an impressive 38.4 percent from three (208-542). With Luka Doncic’s on-court gravity forcing teams to collapse the paint, Wood is more than capable of spotting up and knocking down 3-point jump shots.

However, shooting isn’t all Wood can bring to the table. He is a capable shot-creator, who is comfortable attacking closeouts. He is great at reading and reacting, taking what the defense gives him without forcing the action.

But Wood isn’t just flash. Though he’s a gifted scorer, he can also do the dirty work on the offensive and defensive glass. At nearly 10 rebounds a game, Wood is a legitimate inside presence — the player Nico Harrison has said Dallas needs.

The only trepidation the Mavericks should have regarding Wood is his locker room troubles. Last season, Wood was suspended for one game because he missed COVID-19 testing. He’s labeled as a “tough teammate” to have around for multiple years. And in a 133-113 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Wood refused to enter the game when asked by head coach Stephen Silas.

Despite the trouble in his past, Dallas’ trade for him remains a low-risk endeavor. Yes, the Mavericks gave up a first-round selection, but they get a player that can help them win now and whose contract ends after the 2023 season. And in an offseason where they just made the Western Conference finals, a trade like this one is what the Mavericks needed to do.

Related Dallas Mavericks reading

“How Dallas can use its trade exception this offseason.” 
“Mavericks work out an MVP.” 

Feature image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports