NBA: Christian Wood joins Lakers on two-year deal
LOS ANGELES — Veteran forward Christian Wood has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Tuesday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Lakers hadn’t yet announced the deal for Wood, a Los Angeles-area native. The second season of the deal is a player option, potentially allowing Wood to return to the market next summer after he didn’t land a large free agent contract this year.
Wood essentially confirmed the deal on social media, writing: “It’s always been my dream to be a laker.”
It’s always been my dream to be a laker 💜💛
— 35 (@Chriswood_5) September 6, 2023
Wood averaged 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Dallas Mavericks despite playing largely as a reserve last season, his seventh in the NBA.
He put up a career-best 21.0 points per game for Houston two years earlier, establishing himself as a dependable offensive performer in the NBA after bouncing back and forth from the G League earlier in his career. Wood can play as a small-ball center while stretching opposing defenses with his 3-point shot, but he sometimes struggles to match up defensively.
The Lakers will be Wood’s eighth NBA team, and his first close to home. Wood, who will turn 28 shortly before training camp, was born in Long Beach and began high school in Los Alamitos before leaving town to attend two prep schools ahead of his career at UNLV.
Wood is the fifth veteran acquired by the Lakers this summer following their impressive run to the Western Conference finals led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles also added 7-footer Jaxson Hayes, forward Taurean Prince, point guard Gabe Vincent and swingman Cam Reddish while retaining free agents D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.
After the Lakers played down the stretch without a true backup center last season following Mo Bamba’s injury, the presence of Hayes and Wood should allow Davis to play fewer physically demanding minutes in the middle.