The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with veteran center Christian Wood.
Free agent F/C Christian Wood has agreed on a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell ESPN. Deal includes a player option.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 6, 2023
Following the reported news of his signing, Wood took to social media to share his thoughts on joining the Lakers.
It’s always been my dream to be a laker 💜💛
— 35 (@Chriswood_5) September 6, 2023
The veteran certainly knows how to endear himself to Lakers fans.
Wood, who last played for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022-23 season, agreed to a league-minimum deal that will pay him less than $3 million in the 2023-24 season.
The veteran center also has a player option in the 2024-25 season on his contract, so he could opt out after this season and hit free agency.
24-25: $3,036,040 (P)
Wood can reestablish himself with a strong Laker team and enter free agency once again next offseason.
Depth of bigs include: Anthony Davis, Jaxson Hayes, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and now Wood https://t.co/yKp9Fewcfh
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 6, 2023
This isn’t the first time the Lakers have done this, as NBA insider Marc Stein noted a few other players that have signed minimum deals with the Lakers in recent seasons.
The Lakers have had recent success signings veterans to minimum deals (Malik Monk and Dennis Schröder) that led to better contracts elsewhere.
Now Christian Wood gets that same opportunity in Hollywood … while the Lakers land a free agent whom they've coveted all summer.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 6, 2023
Not only that, but the Lakers signed players like D’Angelo Russell, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish to two-year deals this offseason that include player options for the second season.
Wood will look to rebuild his value in Los Angeles while competing for a title with the franchise. The Lakers made the Western Conference Finals last season, and they really bolstered their frontcourt in the offseason, adding Wood and Hayes to a group that already featured Anthony Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura, who re-signed with the Lakers as a restricted free agent.
He’s proven that he can score the ball at a high rate in recent seasons, averaging 16.6 points per game for the Mavericks in the 2022-23 campaign. Prior to that, Wood averaged 17.9 points per game for Houston in the 2021-22 season and 21.0 points per game in 41 contests in the 2020-21 campaign (also for the Rockets).
The Lakers are hoping that Wood can provide a spark on offense while also buying into the Lakers’ system on defense.
If there is one issue for Wood, it has been his defense (he has a negative defensive box plus/minus for his career), but the Lakers may be able to get away with that if he plays next to Davis at times in the 2023-24 season.
Regardless, adding Wood on such a cheap deal is a low-risk, high-reward deal for a contending Lakers team.