Former Mavs Big Man Christian Wood Reacts to Signing Contract With Lakers

Christian Wood, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Christian Wood of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ aggressive makeover began at the trade deadline in February and has continued in free agency. And General Manager Rob Pelinka just added another piece, snagging former Dallas Mavericks big man Christian Wood, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wood, 27, is signing a two-year deal worth at least $5.7 million, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, and has a player option for the second year. He sent a message after agreeing to join the purple and gold.

“It’s always been my dream to be a Laker,” Wood tweeted on September 5.

Wood averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while also shooting 37.6% from beyond the arc for the Mavericks last season. While he averaged 1.1 blocks per game as well, his defense has not been a strong suit which figures to be less of an issue with the Lakers’ supporting cast.

The Lakers had two open roster spots and had been linked to Wood since his exit from the Mavericks became apparent. Dallas traded for Richaun Holmes, traded for the draft rights to Dereck Lively II, and has been linked to Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela, all of which point to a need for a center.

But they have long planned to let Wood walk in free agency.

“Wood is bound for unrestricted free agency with the Mavericks … not expected to make him an offer to return,” wrote Marc Stein of The Stein Line on June 16. “The Mavericks, sources say, have moved on and are looking to remake their center rotation.”

Wood — a native of Long Beach, California — just finished a three-year, $41 million contract, taking a steep discount from that to join the Lakers.

Christian Wood Has Bounced From Team to Team

The 6-foot-9 big man, Wood, went undrafted out of college in 2015 after two years at UNLV. He spent his first NBA season with the Philadelphia 76ers and has spent time with the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, and Houston Rockets and spoke about his journey going from team to team during a Q&A with Mark Medina of

“It’s crazy,” Wood said, per Medina on January 12. “It was about me staying resilient and not giving up on my dreams. It was about me believing I can be a factor in the NBA, I can play in the NBA and I can possibly be an All-Star in the NBA. I think if most guys were put in my position and cut that many times, they would’ve said, “Okay, I’m just going to go overseas or go to the G-League.” But I kept saying, ‘I’m going to keep attacking it.’ I believed in myself.”

Wood has only stuck with one team – the Rockets – for more than one season. He has also been waived four times and traded twice. He spoke on accepting his bench role in Dallas, noting that he had come off the bench before.

“It was about me embracing the role that the coaches put me in and how they see me fitting in with this team,” Wood said. “I excelled in it.”

Lakers Need Christian Wood Locked In

At his best in 2020-21, Wood averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 38.6% from deep.  He also noted how much of an impact he can have defensively, pointing to last season as evidence.

“I’m starting not to care about getting dunked on by other guys,” Wood said, per Medina. “It happens. … It’s about being able to switch on guards. Usually teams play five-out and go small. So, I try to show that ability to switch on guards. I think my teammates are trusting me now to go block a shot. When teammates have that trust in you, it goes a long way.”

He should provide a solid option behind and even alongside Anthony Davis for head coach Darvis Ham.

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