The Lakers signed Wood in free agency this offseason. The eighth-year man out of UNLV to a two-year, $5.7 million contract. He comes with a negative reputation for things such as poor attitude and effort, two things that can sour a locker room.
Ham isn’t hearing it, though.
“I don’t know what happened in Dallas and that’s not my business,” Ham said, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape on October 13. “I don’t know. People say s—. ‘He’s lazy. He doesn’t play any defense.’ I know the kid. I know what he’s going to do for me and he’s done everything that I expected him to do up to this point since camp has been going on.”
Through three preseason games, Wood is averaging 7.7 points on 47.4% shooting overall. He has also added 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.
Christian Wood’s Past Doesn’t Concern Darvin Ham
The Lakers are Wood’s seventh since he entered the league. His release by the Dallas Mavericks amid their ongoing search for frontcourt help did little to dissuade the notion that he was a negative presence in the locker room. Again, though, Ham is only focused on the version of Wood that he expects to see.
“I don’t judge my relationship based off other people’s opinion of certain individuals,” Ham continued. “I deal with you directly and I have my own relationship with him and I know what he’s capable of and what he’ll do for me.”
Wood called joining the Lakers a “dream”, reiterating those sentiments in training camp.
But he also noted to Spears that he was “motivated by what Dallas did”. That could be a good thing for the Lakers.
“Winning, that is my next thing,” Wood said, per Spears. “I’ve already proved that I’m an NBA player. I’m a rotation player and I could play in these games. My next step is trying to win as many games as possible. Trying to affect the game in a winning way. I haven’t been to the playoffs yet.”
Wood said that Ham “knows” how “eager” he is to that end.
Christian Wood Add Came by Anthony Davis’ Request
“It turns out [Wood’s] dream coincides with the desires of L.A.’s most important player: Anthony Davis,” wrote Dave McMenamin of ESPN on September 7. “Sources told ESPN that Davis made it clear to the organization he wanted to have more support at center so he wouldn’t have to play so much 5 during the regular season.”
Davis is also a fan of what Wood brings to the table.
“His ability to just get the ball and score at three different levels is going to be big for us,” Davis said, per Spears. “When somebody doesn’t have it going, we can always throw him in there and have another threat on the offensive end.”
Wood called the opportunity to play alongside Davis and LeBron James “great”. He also said that he is looking to impact the game in a winning way.
As one of the Lakers to have played in all three of the preseason games so far. And, after helping them to a 2-1 record with a matchup against the Golden State Warriors on tap for October 13, he is off to a good start. Their lone loss this preseason did come at the Warriors’ hands, however, in a 125-108 showing to begin the exhibition slate.