The Los Angeles Lakers have had an excellent offseason and received a lot of praise for the moves that the team made during free agency. The current version of the Lakers is even better than the team that went to the Western Conference Finals.
This extends a solid streak of moves for Rob Pelinka, who was coming off the heels of a very solid trade deadline that reinvented the roster. While Pelinka’s stock is very high right now, he is still prone to make some mistakes (as we have learned in the past).
One potential mistake that could be on the horizon is bringing in big man Christian Wood. The possibility for a horrible sign-and-trade has emerged and even if LA just signs him as a free agent, it would end up blowing up in the team’s face.
Thankfully, another team has entered the equation and could keep the Lakers from hurting themselves by signing Wood. Per Dan Woike of the L.A. Times, the Chicago Bulls are now viewed as a team that could sign Wood as they have a $10.2 million injury exception from Lonzo Ball to spend. Chicago can offer Wood far more than the Lakers can as a result.
Lonzo Ball may save the Lakers from a Christian Wood disaster.
Ball’s situation is extremely unfortunate and it has been sad to see a player with so much potential be hampered by injuries. Hopefully, the former second-overall pick can return after the 2023-24 season and still build a career as he is still so young.
As unfortunate as it is, the situation could stop an unfortunate situation from happening in LA. Sure, Wood is a big-name player and if you just look at his Basketball Reference page then you are going to call us absurd for arguing that he would be a disaster.
However, basketball is not played on a website, it is played on the court and anyone who has closely watched Wood knows the situation. He is an awful defensive player that hurts his teams far more defensively than the help he offers offensively.
He is also someone who has always had a high usage rate in his career. Over half the league can produce the kind of numbers that Wood produces with a usage rate consistently around 25%.
There is a reason why Wood has bounced around from team to team and why a contending team like the Mavericks, which needs depth, seemingly has no interest in bringing him back. He is a classic good stats, bad team guy who has literally been suspended by his own team for poor behavior after he was benched for a game.
Do the Lakers really need that kind of headache? Do they really need to commit to this guy for the 2023-24 season and pass up other opportunities? The franchise just got rid of a massive locker room headache last year and it made an immense difference. This headache might not be the migraine level that the previous headache was, but it can still be distracting.
It simply is not worth it for the Lakers. While some fans may be upset because Wood is a big name, they should ultimately be thanking the Chicago Bulls if Wood ends up signing there for more money.