Lakers’ Big Man Makes Key Decision About His Future

Lakers center Anthony Davis and Christian Wood

Getty Anthony Davis #3 and Christian Wood #35 of the Los Angeles Lakers grab a rebound against the New York Knicks.

Los Angeles Lakers backup big man Christian Wood is returning to the team next season after picking up his $3 million player option, according to Hoopshype’s Michael Scotto.

Wood did not wait until the June 29 deadline to opt in. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Lakers would have saved $1 million if Wood opted out of his player option and re-signed for the one-year veteran minimum.

Before he picked up his player option, Wood already dropped a hint on X, formerly Twitter, about his decision.

“Loved my first year playing for my hometown team,” Wood posted on X on May 3. “I wish I wasn’t hurt the majority of the season, but all in all, it was a dream come true for me. I will be better and 100% healthy next season.”

For Wood, there is unfinished business in Los Angeles after he did not see action during the Lakers’ first-round loss to the defending champion Denver Nuggets due to a knee injury.

But whether the Lakers would keep or flip him in a larger trade this offseason is another story.

Wood, 28, never found his footing in former Lakers coach Darvin Ham’s rotation last season, averaging a six-year low of 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds off the bench across 50 games.

The 6-foot-9 forward agreed to a two-year, $6 million deal with the Lakers last summer, which was widely celebrated as a steal for a player, who averaged 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds the previous season. But there was a reason why the Dallas Mavericks let him walk away for nothing.

Wood never earned the full trust of the recently fired Ham, who leaned more on Jarred Vanderbilt (when he was healthy) and Jaxson Hayes for their defense and rim protection in the Lakers second unit.

Hiring New Coach is Lakers’ Top Priority

Aside from Wood, the Lakers have four more players on last season’s roster who have player options, including superstar LeBron James.

But before that big James decision, the Lakers’ top priority is hiring a new coach.

Two of their top candidates have already been crossed out.

Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, who previously coached James to an NBA title in Cleveland, emphatically shut down the Lakers’ interest and wants to re-sign with with their crosstown rival long-term.

“I don’t really have a comment on that,” Lue told reporters following the Clippers’ first-round exit last week. “I mean it’s great to be wanted you know that’s a really good feeling but like I said I want to be here and hopefully we’re able to solidify that.”

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd, who forged strong relationship with James and Anthony Davis during their 2020 title run inside the Orlando bubble while serving as an assistant under Frank Vogel, inked a multi-year extension on Monday, May 6, to stay in Dallas.

LeBron James Expected to Return

Despite James saying publicly that he hasn’t make up his mind about his future, the expectation is he would return to the Lakers next season.

What is uncertain, however, is whether he picks up his $51.4 million player option or opt out and re-sign an extension.

“At this point, all the signs suggest he’ll stay with the Lakers. We’re not sure yet what the structure will be,” NBA insider Marc Stein said on the May 3 edition of his “#thisleague UNCUT” podcast. “The real curiosity is what kind of trade the Lakers can make to upgrade their roster.”




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