The Los Angeles Lakers believe that they offer the best situation for big man Christian Wood this offseason if his market is only for the league minimum, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike.
Wood, who is currently a free agent, spent last season with the Dallas Mavericks.
“Wood, from what I can tell, still seems like the top choice despite the defensive shortcomings and personality issues detailed here,” Woike wrote.
“If Wood is waiting for a heftier paycheck than the league minimum that the Lakers can offer, so be it. But if his market is the minimum, and here in early August it sure seems like it is, the Lakers believe they offer the best situation for the talented big man.”
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).
One issue for Wood is his defense (negative defensive box plus/minus for his career), but the Lakers may be able to get away with that if he plays next to Anthony Davis.
Davis is one of the best defensive big men in the NBA, and he and Wood could complement each other well with their size and scoring ability on the offensive end.
Wood’s market has been dry this offseason, which is why he remains unsigned, but that could clear the way for the Lakers to bring him in on a value deal.
Los Angeles already added big man Jaxson Hayes this offseason, but Wood has been a much better offensive player than Hayes so far in their NBA careers.
If Wood wants a chance to rebuild his value while also competing for a title, the Lakers could make sense as a destination. Los Angeles made the Western Conference Finals last season and has several key players returning from the 2022-23 season’s roster.
Ultimately, the Lakers need Wood to be willing to accept a minimum deal to play in Los Angeles. The longer he remains unsigned, the more likely it seems that he takes such a deal.