Dallas Mavericks big man Christian Wood will miss his seventh straight game with a fractured left thumb on Thursday night. His team is 3-3 without him, but Luka Doncic has added to his monstrous workload. The Mavs are now 4-6 in the ten games that their second-leading scorer has missed this season.
Marc Stein dropped his latest rumors (subscription required) on Feb. 2 where he noted that Wood would not return until “next week at the earliest” from his injury, and that the contract extension discussions between the two sides have not advanced past the “preliminary stages”.
Both things should be concerning for the Mavericks organization, and it leaves general manager Nico Harrison and the team’s decision-makers with a ton to digest over the next week. Here is a look at why the Mavs should be concerned and have a key decision to make before Feb. 9.
Why the latest Christian Wood rumors are concerning for the Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs thought Wood would only miss one week when he fractured his thumb on Jan. 18, but it appears it will be over three before he can get back on the floor. Wood not returning until next week rules him out for Thursday’s game against the Pelicans and Saturday’s versus the defending champion Warriors.
Dallas starts a key stretch of eight straight games against Western Conference playoff hopefuls on Feb. 2, and they need C-Wood back in the lineup to win those contests. The Mavs' final eight games before the All-Star break could determine their season, and Wood will miss at least two of them.
If Wood sits another week, he will not play again before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, which leaves Dallas zero more time to evaluate his on-court production and fit next to Luka Doncic. C-Wood is in the final year of his contract. He is extension eligible until the final day of the season, but the two sides are not close to a deal.
That leaves the Mavericks in a pickle. Do they let Wood play out the season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer? The team will be confident they can re-sign him, but they thought the same thing about Jalen Brunson. The other option would be trading C-Wood before the deadline, but that is also an issue.
The 27-year-old big man does not have a ton of trade value around the league. Most believe Dallas can get back what they paid for Wood, which is a late first-round pick. Do the Mavericks take a short-term step backward to pick up another first-rounder? Luka Doncic is unlikely to be happy with that plan, and he is the most important person in every decision the franchise makes.
The title race is wide open, and their 23-year-old superstar wants Dallas to upgrade at the deadline if they are going to do anything. If extension talks do not progress, the Mavericks front office will have a difficult call to make before Feb. 9. Dallas wants a shorter-term deal, but he has had no interest so far. Will that change? It seems unlikely as his free agency draws closer.
The Dallas Mavericks want to upgrade their roster before the trade deadline, and it appears they made every player not named Luka Doncic available. Will the organization find a suitable deal? Stay tuned for all the latest.