The New Orleans Pelicans have parted ways with Christian Wood today, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Sources: New Orleans has waived forward Christian Wood.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 15, 2019
This news shouldn’t come as the greatest of surprises. Blurring the lines of guaranteed and unguaranteed contracts, the Pelicans roster stood at 16 solid players and I’ve felt Wood had been the one standing on the outside looking in for some time. In addition, he failed to make an appearance during the 2019 Summer League, and the media was alerted to some type of ongoing negotiations between the front office and Wood’s representation.
Per SL head coach Fred Vinson, Christian Wood hasn't seen any summer league action yet because Pelicans management and Wood's agent are moving towards working out a solution.— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) July 7, 2019
"Hopefully things get worked out soon."
If I had to wager a guess, Wood may have been seeking a renegotiation of his contract. According to Basketball Insiders, half of his salary wasn’t going to guarantee until right before the start of the 2019-20 season and the rest of it not until January 10, 2020. However, with the Pelicans picking up the team option on Jahlil Okafor and then coming to an agreement with Nicolo Melli in free agency, New Orleans likely wasn’t in position to make a greater commitment to Wood, and he perhaps sought more financial security and greater opportunity for minutes (don’t forget that Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes suddenly became roadblocks after the 2019 NBA Draft).
Regardless of the reasons for today’s announcement, Wood now has plenty of time to latch on with a new organization. During his short time with the Pelicans last season, Wood made the most of his appearances, averaging 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over eight games. His production immediately endeared him to a number of fans in the region, but alas he’ll now try to catch on with another team after short stints in New Orleans, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Philadelphia.
In happier news, the Pelicans and David Griffin will introduce all the players acquired in recent trades tomorrow at 3:00 pm Central: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Derrick Favors and Josh Hart. You can watch the press conference via a livestream on the Pelicans.com.