Report: Lakers have done ‘significant background work’ on Christian Wood as Bulls emerge as threats to sign him

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have put a lot of time looking into big man Christian Wood, but they reportedly could face competition from the Chicago Bulls in pursuit of the free agent.

“According to sources familiar with the team’s free-agent pursuits but not authorized to speak publicly, the Chicago Bulls are suddenly viewed as a potential threat that could keep the Lakers from landing Wood,” wrote Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

The Lakers could be targeting the well-traveled 27-year-old to fill out one of the final slots on their roster.

“Sources say the team has done significant background work on Wood,” wrote Woike.

The Cleveland Cavaliers also reportedly have been linked to Wood, who played last season for the Dallas Mavericks. They were his seventh team in seven seasons since debuting in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015.

The Lakers could face some financial obstacles in their pursuit of Wood after re-signing Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura and adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes this offseason.

Wood has been described as a “polarizing” player by ESPN insider Brian Windhorst, among others, even though he is averaging more than 18 points per game over his last three seasons, which includes two for the Houston Rockets.

“If LeBron [James] can get him to toe the line, it cements LeBron as the greatest player of all time,” one NBA source told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s how hard it is.”

James recently announced he will return to play his 21st NBA season, and the 38-year-old is on a mission to win his fifth NBA title, so it is unknown if he would have the patience to have to get Wood to toe the line.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas product has played one season or less for six NBA teams and had multiple stints in the G League. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham crossed paths with Wood during the 2018-19 season when Wood played 13 games for the Milwaukee Bucks while Ham was an assistant coach there.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has hinted they are looking for someone with “stretch 5 capabilities,” and Wood made 37.6 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, nearly identical to his overall career mark of 37.9 percent.

Wood has never appeared in an NBA playoff game, and the Lakers are full speed ahead in their pursuit of a championship after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season. All of their research into Wood likely means they are carefully weighing the talent he would bring against some of the negatives he may also carry.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.