The offseason has slowed down as the 2022-23 season approaches but like the rest of the calendar year, the NBA rumors continue to flow. As one of the most prolific teams in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers are often the center of many of these rumors.
After extending Anthony Davis, the biggest storyline for the purple and gold is whether or not the team pursues polarizing big man Christian Wood. Los Angeles is in need of a floor-spacing big and Wood is by far the most talented option remaining. However, he does come with baggage, and the Lakers can only offer Wood the veteran minimum.
That has not killed the rumors, however, as NBA insider Marc Stein reported in his substack (subscription required) that the Lakers have maintained a level of interest in Wood. Naturally, some fans may be upset by this revelation but there is a silver lining: the team doesn’t look like it will be making a controversial sign-and-trade for Wood, per Stein.
"“As I reported here last month, Dallas remains open to facilitating a sign-and-trade for Wood if the Mavericks can acquire a player they like in the exchange, but neither the Lakers nor the Miami Heat are considered potential sign-and-trade destinations.”"
NBA Rumors: Lakers won’t sign-and-trade for Christian Wood
If the Lakers were to pull off a sign-and-trade for Christian Wood it would require the team to sign him to a three-year deal while also trading prominent players in return. Jarred Vanderbilt would undoubtedly be in the deal, as the Lakers can only trade so many players legally right now, and it would likely have to include Max Christie as well to get Wood to a salary figure he would be comfortable with.
Sure, Wood could agree to a slight pay jump and take a $5 million salary and the Lakers would then be able to flip Vando one-for-one. The Lakers also only have to guarantee the first year of Wood’s contract in a sign-and-trade, so it does not have to be a long-term commitment.
But even a Vanderbilt-Wood swap would be a horrible move for the Lakers. Vanderbilt may have his struggles offensively but his limitation in scoring the basketball are not as bad as Wood’s limitations in playing defense. Add in the fact that Vando is a team player and is actually playable in the playoffs and it feels like a no-brainer.
Trading a valuable defensive player who may play a big role in the playoffs for someone who puts up good stats on bad teams just because he can shoot would be silly. Thankfully, Lakers fans don’t have to fret about this possibility anymore.