Posted on: September 6, 2023, 02:48h.
Last updated on: September 6, 2023, 02:48h.
Power forward Christian Wood joins Los Angeles Lakers at a discounted price as they pursue an NBA championship.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls showed interest in signing Christian Wood through free agency. Despite the Bulls having the ability to offer more money, Wood opted to join the Lakers in Hollywood instead of the Windy City.
The Lakers have signed Wood to a two-year contract worth $5.7 million, with $2.7 million to be paid this season and a player option for $3 million next season.
By accepting this discounted contract, Wood joins forces with LeBron James with the goal of winning an NBA championship. Wood’s previous salary was $14.3 million with the Dallas Mavericks and he averaged $13.3 million per year during his time with the Houston Rockets.
Last season, Wood displayed impressive stats with the Mavs, averaging 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 51.5% from the floor and 37.6% from beyond the arc.
Currently, Wood’s odds to win the 2024 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award are set at +3000.
Lakers Enhance Their Frontline
With the addition of Wood, the Lakers have bolstered their frontline along with center Jaxon Hayes, who is another recent free agent signing. Wood is expected to provide backup for Davis and can also play as a center if the coach decides to use him in a small ball lineup.
Known for his versatility, Wood can play both power forward and center positions while offering consistent shooting from the perimeter. He ranked in the top four for high-volume 3-point shooting among big men last season and was among the select group of players 6-foot-10 or taller to make at least 100 treys in each of the last two seasons.
Anthony Davis, a prominent Lakers player, will now be able to focus more on playing power forward and less at center, reducing his risk of injuries. The addition of Hayes and Wood means Davis can avoid facing tough opponents in the Western Conference such as Nikola Jokic, Steven Adams, Deandre Ayton, and Jonas Valanciunas.
Davis has had significant injury struggles during his time with the Lakers and has missed a total of 104 games since joining the team. The Lakers won the NBA championship in Davis’ first season but have struggled in subsequent seasons, including failing to make the playoffs twice.
Lakers’ Future Outlook
Last season, the Lakers finished with a 43-39 record and secured the #7 seed in the Western Conference. They advanced through the play-in tournament, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors to reach the Western Conference Finals, where they were eventually swept by the Denver Nuggets.
LeBron James considered retirement after the disappointing playoff run, but has decided to return for at least one more season with the Lakers. It remains uncertain how many more seasons James will remain with the team. He holds a player option worth $51.4 million for the 2024-25 season.
Currently, oddsmakers have set the Lakers’ win total for the upcoming season at 47.5, with the team considered strong favorites at -380 to make the playoffs. However, there is still a chance they could miss the postseason at +285 odds.
On the futures market, the Lakers are listed at +1200 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA championship, placing them as the sixth-highest team. Additionally, their odds of winning the Western Conference are set at +750, marking their first time as contenders since the 2019-20 season.
The Phoenix Suns are favored to win the Pacific Division at +165 odds, following their acquisition of Bradley Beal. They are ahead of the Golden State Warriors (+320), Lakers (+330), L.A. Clippers (+550), and Sacramento Kings (+900).