Positive Sign For Pistons In Quest To Keep Christian Wood

It doesn't sound like he wants to play anywhere else.

Will Burchfield
July 30, 2020 - 2:48 pm

As the Pistons prepare for free agency with more cap space than they've had in years, their biggest question is right at home: Will they re-sign Christian Wood? 

In other words, will Christian Wood re-sign with the Pistons?

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The 24-year-old big man, who took the NBA by storm this season following the Andre Drummond trade, is in line for a payday. Detroit has the money to give it to him. The question is whether Wood might prefer to cash in somewhere else. 

He added some uncertainty to the scenario when he declared on Twitter last month, "I want to win." The Pistons are in the early stages of a rebuild -- a 'restoring,' in the words of new general manager Troy Weaver. If winning is Wood's main motivation, he might find better suitors than Detroit. 

That said, the Pistons remain the frontrunners here. They have Wood's Early Bird rights, meaning they can exceed the cap to re-sign him. Moreover, Wood unlocked his potential playing for this organization and this coaching staff. Why switch teams now? 

It doesn't sound like he wants to. According to Dwane Casey, Wood has been in Detroit this month for all of the Pistons' voluntary workouts.

"He’s worked his behind off, which he didn’t have to, him being a free agent. But he likes the city, he still has his place here and he's participating in all the individual workouts over the last two weeks," Casey said. 

So the Pistons will sign him, right? 

"We’ll see," Casey said, lest he violate any tampering rules. "I’m going to leave that up to Troy and his staff to get that done, but hopefully the negotiations go the right way. He’s a good young talent."

Wood made $1.6 million this season. He's due an eight-figure contract in free agency, likely with an eight-figure annual salary. He'll get it either way, but it's a good bet it comes from the Pistons. 

Casey also offered a positive report on Luke Kennard, who was shelved in December due to knee tendinitis. Injuries have plagued the 2017 first-round pick the last two seasons. 

"His body looks as well as it’s looked since he’s been here," Casey said. "His muscle tone, his legs are strong, which takes the tension off his tendinitis. He’s done a lot of work to get his tendinitis in shape and he’s looking real good, shooting the ball extremely well, moving extremely well.

"Hopefully the league will allow us to go five-on-five here sometime in the future where we can bring our guys back and get some game competition in, because need to have some competition. We can’t go from March 11 until December and not have any competition, guys going at each other, beating each other up and having those competitive juices going." 

Casey said the league has discussed allowing the eight teams who didn't qualify for the restart in Orlando to hold training camps in their own markets. 

"Nothing has been put together in concrete," he said. "So as the fans are waiting, us coaches are waiting. We’re chomping at the bit to get something going."