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Report: Rockets' Christian Wood in Contention to Replace Bradley Beal on Team USA

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2021

Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) celebrates after a basket during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Houston. (Thomas Shea/Pool Photo via AP)
Thomas Shea/Pool Photo via AP

Team USA is in the market for a replacement player as the Tokyo Olympics approach, and Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood has emerged as a candidate.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, "Wood is among the players under consideration." Feigen also noted Wood has called the chance to play for the Olympic team a dream.

Team USA announced Bradley Beal will not play in the Games after he entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Olgun Uluc reported "Team USA is in a struggle with COVID" with Beal out and Jerami Grant in health and safety protocols.

What's more, the Americans lost exhibition contests to Nigeria and Australia and have not yet looked like the runaway gold medal favorites many expected given the overall talent on the team. They are still the three-time defending Olympic champions, but the pre-Olympic stage has been somewhat rocky before the trip to Tokyo.

Beal was certainly a significant loss considering he finished second in the league in scoring this past season at 31.3 points per game. Fortunately for the team, there is still plenty of talent on the wings with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum and Khris Middleton.

Wood would provide depth to a frontcourt that also includes Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

The Rockets big man played 41 games during the 2020-21 campaign and averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three-point range.

It wouldn't be a surprise to see him immediately step in and play more minutes than Love at this point of their respective careers.

Team USA's first Olympic game is July 25 against France.