What will the Detroit Pistons pay Christian Wood this summer?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood (35) during an NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers on January 05, 2020, at Stapes Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood (35) during an NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers on January 05, 2020, at Stapes Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons found themselves lucky that Christian Wood became available to them last summer. But looking forward, what will his next contract look like?

The value of Christian Wood‘s services to the Detroit Pistons this season cannot be overstated. Coming into the year Detroit desperately needed a center to backup Andre Drummond, and were fortunate enough to sign Wood to a non-guaranteed contract. (which has recently been fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season)

While admittedly he has his occasional lapses on both ends of the floor which either results in turnovers or uncontested baskets for the opposition, the positive impact that he provides often outweighs the negative.

Coming into the year Wood had struggled to find a home, and had played for five different NBA teams in just four seasons. It still to this day isn’t clear as to why exactly that is, but after winning the final roster spot during the preseason over the league veteran Joe Johnson, it’s relatively safe to say that Detroit will soon be his permanent residence.

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Over the course of the 38 games that Wood has played for the Pistons this season, he’s averaging 9.5 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds on 56.9 percent shooting and 36.7 percent from three-point range. His field goal percentage this season is currently a career high.

Detroit is also performing slightly better with him on the floor this season versus when he’s on the bench. Their offensive rating improves from 109.1 to 112.0 when he’s on the court, and opposing team’s ratings drop 114.8 down to 109.4 when Wood is in the game.

His ability to effectively run pick and rolls, absorb contact and execute tough finishes at the rim, provide fans with explosive dunks and most importantly – space the floor are all excellent indicators that Wood is somebody that Detroit needs to hold onto.

So, what do they pay him this offseason?

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Wood will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Pistons are likely going to be one of the main (and quite possibly one of the only) teams that offer him a contract. A big man who’s capable of protecting the rim and stretching the floor are hot commodities in today’s NBA, so in every conceivable way – it’s more or less a no brainer to retain Wood’s services.

One issue is his age and the way his career has unfolded thus far. Wood will turn 25 years old this season so while he’s still relatively young, the issue is that because he hasn’t been able to find a stable home his development has been a little rocky.

It’s difficult to acclimate yourself to a system or even an entire league when the most games you’ve played for an individual team prior to this season was 17. This explains the consistent (but not too consistent) mental errors that he suffers over the course of a game. More or less just a lack of experience.

However the counterargument there is that pretty much every stretch-five in the league is going to operate the same way. There aren’t going to be too many systems where his expected input differs from another franchise. His role will more or less stay the same.

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This is obviously a good thing, and just means that with more experience will eventually bring out the best in him.

In terms of what his contract could look like, you could potentially be looking at a three year deal (with a team option on the final year) and his annual salary could range anywhere from $5 million to $8 million.

The Pistons may have a hole to fill at the center position this summer depending on what happens with Drummond and the trade rumors surrounding him/if Detroit allows him to walk in free agency. If they’re able to select a center in the second round of the upcoming draft and Drummond leaves, then Wood may find himself in a starting position.

The issue is that Detroit does not currently possess a second round pick this year, so they’d have to acquire one through the virtue of trade.

Detroit may have some money to play with this summer, so whether that means going after Fred VanVleet or paying Wood (or both) the main priority should be the latter. There’s no telling who may offer Wood a contract but the good news for Pistons fans is that they have a leg up on the competition.

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Both Wood and Detroit have expressed their satisfaction with each other. They have a good relationship and he’s been given an opportunity to thrive there. With a rebuild currently pending for the Pistons, having Wood be a frontcourt option isn’t exactly a bad thing.

The market on Wood is currently pretty murky, and it’s not exactly clear who may or may not offer him a contract this summer. This may bode well for the Pistons in terms of what they’d have to pay him. Reference back to the aforementioned $5 million to $8 million range, and that’s likely what you’ll see from any team.

If I personally were to guess, 3 years for $21 million (again, with a team option on the final year) seems to benefit all parties involved.

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It’s still rather bizarre that so many teams let Wood slip through the cracks, and Pistons supporters are certainly glad that he did as he’s emerged as a fan favorite. It’s imperative that Detroit doesn’t end up in that list too.