The Dallas Mavericks traded for Christian Wood in the offseason to improve their scoring and rebounding. It was a no-brainer deal that allowed the front office to clear a few roster spots at just the cost of a late first-round draft pick. Wood was excited to join a contending team and to try to prove that he could contribute to a playoff squad.
Wood is in the final year of his three-year $41 million contract he signed with Houston back in 2020. The 6’10 forward will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, which means the Mavs have an important decision to make in the coming months.
Do the Mavs extend C-Wood and push themselves into the luxury tax or let him test the free-agent waters in the summer? Is the 27-year-old part of their long-term plan or just a one-year stopgap as Dallas tries to build an annual title contender around Luka Doncic? Here is a look at why Dec. 24 is an important day in his extension talks, and what is at stake in the decision.
Christian Wood extension decision looms as Dallas Mavericks decide future
The CBA puts an extension restricted on players acquired in a trade for six months. Right now, the maximum the Mavericks could offer C-Wood would be a two-year deal at just over $30.8 million. That restriction lifts on Dec. 24 with Dallas being able to offer a four-year extension at $76.9 million following that date. Fans can find all the details of the maximum extensions Wood is eligible for here, courtesy of CBAMavs.
Wood’s salary for next season in a maximum extension after Dec. 24 would be just over $17.1 million. Is that enough to convince him to stay in Dallas? Do the Mavericks want to pay him that kind of money long-term? If C-Wood re-signs, the team will be over the luxury tax for the second straight year.
It has further implications too. Was one season for Wood worth a late first-round pick? Tyrese Maxey and Desmond Bane were late first-round picks in 2020. The Mavs were targeting Jaden Hardy, who they traded back into the draft to select in the second round, but Dallas could have had two young prospects to develop. It is a sunk cost now but does that factor into the team’s decision to extend Wood?
Christian Wood is coming off arguably his two best games as a Mavericks. The 6’10 forward is coming off the bench this season. He would prefer to start, but Wood is still averaging 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. C-Wood is fitting into the defensive scheme and playing outstanding basketball.
Does Wood help the Dallas Mavericks contend for a championship? They are just 15-15 to start the season, but 30 games are not enough to judge. The Mavs were 15-15 after 30 games last season before finishing fourth in the West and reaching the conference finals. Dallas has a flawed roster, but Wood has not been the problem thus far.
If the two parties fail to reach an extension, expect Christian Wood to leave in free agency. Jalen Brunson just did it to the Mavs, and it was the fault of the front office. They had opportunities to extend him, and the decision-makers chose not to do it. Wood likely leaves Dallas in a similar fashion without an extension.
Fans should be watching closely for news about a Christian Wood extension. Dec. 24 is when his restriction gets lifted, and it allows the two sides to seriously negotiate on a long-term deal. Will they get an extension done? Stay tuned to find out.