One of the final dominos of NBA free agency has finally fallen. After a deliberation that lasted weeks longer than it probably had any business doing, Christian Wood will sign with the Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Woj reports the deal is for two years, with the second year as a player option.
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
Wood called it a dream come true on Twitter:
It’s always been my dream to be a laker— 35 (@Chriswood_5) September 6, 2023
Bobby Marks of ESPN had the full salary breakdown:
23-24: $2,709,849— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 6, 2023
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
Wood, a 6’10 center/forward who has shot 37.9% from three in his career, profiles as the type of big man who would fit perfectly on offense next to LeBron James or Anthony Davis, and potentially both at the same time. That he is available for the minimum, even considering his well-chronicled defensive issues, is a bargain in simply basketball terms. It’s everything else that leads to questions.
Because since the opening weekend of free agency, the Lakers and Wood have circled one another in a sad sort of stalemate. The Lakers were interested in Wood from the beginning, but also understandably wanted to do some research considering his numerous previous stops.
And — beyond any worries about his defensive fit, or what this means for the center rotation — it’s that number of stops that raises any concerns. Because despite his talent being evident, Wood hasn’t stuck with any team and hasn’t played a particularly winning brand of basketball at any of those stops, either. As a result of that, the Lakers were forced to weigh the option of whether he’s worth the risk, even on a minimum contract.
On Wood’s side, the decision of whether to take the veteran’s minimum was one he also had to weigh. With little urgency on his side to sign a deal, considering effectively every option was for the veteran’s minimum, Wood waited to make his choice. Now that he's made it, the Lakers have added the center option with the most upside on the market. Whether he (and the team) can reach that ceiling, however, remains to be seen. The thing about even the best boom-or-bust options is that they have the potential to go bust. We’ll see which way the equation goes for Wood and the Lakers over the months to come, but training camp and the preseason just got even more interesting.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.