Christian Wood took a long time to sign with a team this NBA offseason, and the big man finally decided on the Los Angeles Lakers, reportedly because he believes he has a chance to work his way into the starting lineup at some point.
To go from a free agent to the starting five for an NBA title contender would be quite an accomplishment for the 27-year-old, who has played for seven teams in his prior seven seasons in the league.
Wood said he has always dreamed of playing for the Lakers and gets the opportunity with a two-year contract worth $5.7 million. He certainly has displayed the kind of talent that could lead to a successful run in Los Angeles, but there are also worries attached to the acquisition.
One NBA front office source delivered a reality check about the importance of Wood being on his “best behavior,” and another source previously said that if LeBron James is able to get Wood to “toe the line” it would cement the superstar’s G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) status.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas product has an NBA career scoring average of 14.8 points per game, with a high of 21.0 points per game in 41 contests for the Houston Rockets in the 2020-21 campaign. Not only has he bounced from team to team in the NBA, but he also has had multiple stints in the G League, which is an indication that something is amiss somewhere despite his obvious ability.
As far as eventually joining the Lakers’ starting five, one insider said Wood likely will start the season coming off the bench with James, Anthony Davis and Rui Hachimura starting in the frontcourt. Described as a starting-caliber center, Wood likely will spell Davis and could team with him in two-big sets and play about 20 minutes per game.
Wood averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game in 67 appearances (mostly off the bench) with the Dallas Mavericks last season, and if the Lakers can get those kind of numbers from a reserve player they signed mere weeks before training camp begins, it likely will go down as a very good deal for both sides.