The Lakers bench a big man and agree to negotiate with Christian Wood

Dallas Mavericks forward Christian Wood, 35, gestures to the crowd.
Dallas Mavericks forward Christian Wood gestures after scoring against the Lakers December 25. Wood has agreed to a deal with the Lakers. (Emil T Lippe/Associated Press)

The lakers have agreed to a deal Christian Woodadding some exclamation point to the end of their off-season lineup with the addition of the talented big man.

According to a person familiar with the situation, Wood will sign a two-year contract with a player option for the second season for the veteran’s minimum. However, if things go according to plan, he won’t exercise it. Wood’s ability to stretch the field on offense — he averaged 16.6 points on 37.6% shots from three throws last season in Dallas — is among the best in the league for players at his position.

He is 1.80 meters tall and will only be 28 at the end of the month. This brings the team another player in his free agency prime, alongside new signings Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince. The Lakers, in addition to holding Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell And Rui Hachimuraalso added former lottery tips Jason Hayes And Cam Reddish on low-risk free agency deals.

The team has 14 players under contract, with three others on two-way contracts.

Wood has the most comprehensive offensive record of any Lakers freshman. Over the past four seasons, he has averaged just under 17 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.0 block. However, he did it on three different teams.

Wood’s problems – consistency defensively up front – have propelled him across the league in his short career. He has played for seven different franchises – not counting a season in the G-League – with only one, Houston, signing him for multiple seasons.

However, the Lakers could get the right player at the right time. With a sluggish free agent market unlikely to have generated any significant offers, Wood joins a team poised to win and in clear need of a strong man off the bench who can score goals. Reel acceptance, a problem that has contributed to this soft market, should also be at an all-time high Lebron James and title hopes in the game (while Wood has an all-or-nothing deal).

He should have a good chance to show his strengths. While he will initially be a bench player for the Lakers, Anthony Davis“Injury issues and James’ age should allow for many nights where the Lakers could use a goalscorer.”

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The Lakers targeted Wood as soon as it became clear he might be available at the league minimum, both at Davis and at Coach Darvin Ham I have worked with him on previous stations.

Still, the questions are real. Wood was not signed for the first week of September, and the Lakers were the last team to try to put him in the right situation.

The risk is low with the league minimum wage. However, the gain is potentially huge.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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