The signing of Christian Wood was the last piece of the puzzle for the Los Angeles Lakers. The center is a proven scorer and he’s capable of taking up authority. Over the last few seasons, Wood has been shifting bases quite often. From the Houston Rockets, he signed with the Dallas Mavericks where he played a minimal role alongside Luka Doncic.
When compared to the first half of his career, Wood has transitioned into a consistent backup center. The Lakers will benefit from his presence either as a starter or a bench player. Last season, he averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 51.5% from the field per game. He primarily came off the bench for Dallas but started for a total of 17 games in between. Unfortunately, the Mavericks did not make the playoffs.
Breaking: Christian Wood has agreed on a two-year deal with the Lakers, sources tell @wojespn.
The deal includes a player option. pic.twitter.com/pNLMjLLrUF
— ESPN (@espn) September 6, 2023
The Lakers signed Christian Wood to a two-year $5.7 million minimum veteran deal which also includes a player option for the 2024-25 season. LA was never his top pick during free agency as Wood has his sights set on the Miami Heat. Christian wanted to sign with the Heat as they would’ve had an open position for him if they acquired Damian Lillard. However, with no progress being made in the trade and training camp fast approaching, Wood had no choice but to settle for the Lakers to get out of the market.
Rui Hachimura is expected to start over Christian Wood for the Lakers
There was one issue that the Lakers were warned about regarding Christian Wood. Besides having lackluster defensive capabilities, the issue that stands against the Lakers is how they will use him. According to recent updates from Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers are expected to start Rui Hachimura over the veteran next season. The biggest reason is that Hachiruma had an incredible season with the Lakers last year.
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) September 7, 2023
The 2019 NBA Draft’s ninth overall pick was traded to the Lakers midway through last season. He appeared in the 33 games following the trade and averaged 9.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 0.7 assists per game. But it wasn’t until the playoffs that LA got to experience his true potential. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game all while recording a few 20-point performances. Rui also had an outstanding 29-point outburst against the Memphis Grizzlies as well.
Now, if the Lakers choose to start Hachimura alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it might cause problems with Christian Wood. Of course, having been a leader on the Rockets for two years to being a bench player takes is a big change. The Lakers aren’t fully aware of what the Heat would’ve had for Wood if they acquired Lillard. But it would be up to the players to work their way up the ladder.