Lakers News: Christian Wood Hoping To Stay In L.A. Long-Term
Christian Wood, Lakers
(Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ most recent offseason acquisition was the free agent signing of center Christian Wood.

Wood’s arrival in L.A. was long-awaited, as rumors of mutual interest between he and the Lakers had been swirling for weeks before the deal finally came to fruition. Wood signed a two-year veteran minimum contract with a player option for the second year.

Wood, a Long Beach native, is a natural with both the culture of L.A. as well as this season’s roster. The team was in need of another backup center, as Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes represented the only two options at the position. Davis is hopeful to play more power forward, opening the door for Wood and Hayes to see minutes.

But Wood is viewing this as a potential opportunity to find a long-term home in the NBA. He is hopeful that the Lakers can be more than just a one-season stopgap.

“For sure. This is my hometown team. I’m from Long Beach, I grew up watching this team, I grew up watching Kobe Bryant, so this is where I want to be long-term,” Wood said at Media Day.

Wood went into further detail on why the Lakers were the right choice for him.

“I think my ability to fit with this team. Me knowing coach Darvin Ham, me having a relationship with Rob, I think that was a big factor. Them calling my agent everyday, me talking to Darvin Ham everyday, and me being around Darvin when I was in the G League probably like five, six years ago. Him just rooting for me to try and be great and then I see him in Milwaukee and he was the guy I was working out with, he was my players coach so we developed a great relationship through then. And he knew all the work I put in to try and get to where I wanted to be and I think that was a big factor.”

Wood understands that, given how things have gone for him at previous destinations, he needs to say and do all the right things while with the Lakers. And if he does, he could be in line to make more money next season. If that happens, the Lakers would not be able to afford to keep him, similar to the way things went with Malik Monk and Dennis Schroder.

Signing players to contracts like Wood’s puts the Lakers in a no-leverage situation. If he isn’t worth a minimum, the Lakers won’t want to bring him back, and if he’s worth above a minimum, the Lakers are unlikely to have the means to retain him.

But for now, Wood can help in 2023-24, and part of doing that is being a positive cultural fit in the locker room.

Wood impressing with defense in training camp

Ham praised Wood for his work on the defensive end during the Lakers’ first practice of the year.

“Just his attention to detail,” Ham said about what stood out from Wood. “He wants to be elite defensively and he was one of the main voices you heard in pick-and-roll defense, in the breakdown, in the scrimmage.

“His ability to switch and sit down in a stance and try to keep the guards in front, rebounding, blocking shots. He was truly, truly extremely engaged on the defensive side of the ball.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Magic Johnson Believes Lakers Should Hire Ex-Player As Next Head Coach

The head coaching search for the Los Angeles Lakers continues to move on as no one knows quite where the team will land…

Lakers News: Anthony Davis Speaks On Possibility Of Playing Vs. Clippers On Wednesday

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis put together another strong performance in the team’s overtime victory over the Utah Jazz…

Steve Nash Inching Closer to Magic Johnson on Assists List

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has two of its players in the…

Lakers News: D’Antoni Talks About the Lakers Amnestying World Peace

The Los Angeles Lakers decided to use their amnesty provision on forward…