The Cleveland Cavaliers have made their share of moves this offseason already, with them re-signing Caris LeVert, signing Georges Niang and bringing in Max Strus via sign-and-trade. Cleveland would then acquire Damian Jones via trade and go on to sign Ty Jerome.
This offseason has been a busy one for the Cavaliers, and for a team that needed to boost its shooting, it’s been good to see them do so. Jerome could end up being an underrated signing, too, and Jones should add some physicality to Cleveland’s rotation.
For the Cavs, though, a player who has been linked to them could end up proving to be a steal as a team-friendly signing still to come. Stretch big Christian Wood is still unsigned, and he’s seemingly been linked to a number of teams. In that realm, the Cavaliers have been a team that has reportedly “shown interest” in Wood and Kelly Oubre Jr., per a recent report from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscription required).
Wood would be another player that could make a shooting impact for stretches, and while he is not known for his defense, one would have to focus on the positive with him as a possible Cavaliers signing.
As a potential Cavs signing, one has to focus on the positive with Wood. He could provide more offensive punch.
Wood has been on seven teams in seven NBA seasons, which is not typically a glowing endorsement for a target for a club to sign. Wood’s defense, as we alluded to, is not going to be a strength and help his case for minutes for a ball club, either.
On that end of the floor, Wood can aid to a team, at least theoretically, from a length perspective in the paint. He’s had 1.0 blocks per contest over the last four seasons with the Detroit Pistons, then Houston Rockets and most recently, the Dallas Mavericks in 2022-23.
Wood’s not a player whose particularly switchable, though, and with a slim frame, even at 6-foot-9, he can get moved around on the interior as well. Those things, and at times lack of effort lead to the criticism he’s received for his defense.
However, within the Cavaliers’ framework, maybe Wood’s defensive issues could be mitigated to some degree in his minutes? He does have a 7-foot-3 wingspan, and there’s reason to believe Cleveland could figure it out with others such as Evan Mobley and/or Jarrett Allen for stretches, along with Isaac Okoro and Dean Wade, for instance, to aid Wood.
Regardless, the offensive end, as we were hinting at before, would have to be the focus with a Wood signing by the Cavs, anyways.
Wood is a very talented offensive player, simply put, and the Cavaliers do not have a player that could realistically be a center option, at least for now, that can nearly space the floor the way Wood and shoot from deep at volume, the way Wood can.
Since he’s really had a legitimate shot with NBA teams first with the Pistons four seasons ago, he’s connected on 38.2 percent of his 4.0 three-point shot attempts in that time, to go with 16.8 points per game.
Last season with Dallas, he had splits of 16.6 points per outing in 25.9 minutes per game, and canned 37.6 percent of his deep ball tries. He splashed 41.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot deep attempts then, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data.
Wood wouldn’t be playing with Luka Doncic in Cleveland, but playing with a passer like Darius Garland could be fruitful for Wood offensively still. The same could also apply playing off of Donovan Mitchell or Evan Mobley, both of whom are underrated passers.
Along with the stretch 4/5 element, Wood is a rolling threat, too, which could come in handy in some bench stretches, especially with other perimeter shooting threats on the floor with him. Wood isn’t going to have the physicality as a roller as some others, but he is a lob threat himself, and can use some craftiness as a finisher in sequences when he is set to finish with touch below the rim, also.
Last season, Wood placed in the 93rd percentile in rolling scoring with Dallas, per Synergy Sports. The season prior, he placed in the 67th percentile with Houston. So that’s something to keep mind with his offensive game as well, mixed in some on-ball abilities at times when he’s defended by less athletic bigs.
While there’s others involved, including the recent Georges Niang signing, Wood could bring plenty of offensive pop with him for the Cavaliers bench, and in some instances, could fill in as a spot starter.
Granted, the defensive issues and him still being unsigned has to be concerning, but with it seeming to be a possibility that Wood ends up being signed somewhere as a vet minimum addition, one couldn’t blame for Cleveland for doing that. If it weren’t to eventually work out, it’d be a low-risk move anyhow.
For a player set to enter his age-28 season, as a minimum signing in this scenario, the Cavaliers would be in the right to at least strongly consider taking on a polished big man shooter in Wood.