3 biggest offseason successes for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2023

LeBron James and Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LeBron James and Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Christian Wood Lakers
Feb 26, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Christian Wood (35) drives to the basket as Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves (15) defends during the second quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Success No. 3 – Signing Christian Wood on a minimum deal

After playing in a diminished role with the Dallas Mavericks, stretch big Christian Wood’s value was in limbo entering free agency. Numerous stories suggested his off-court behavior was harmful to a team’s culture, and few shied away from criticizing his defense.

In the face of Wood’s doubters and flaws, the Lakers showed an early interest in bringing him to the West Coast as a frontcourt partner next to Anthony Davis. Wood signed on a two-year veteran minimum contract with a player option after the first season. Depending on his performance this season, he could leave for a bigger contract. Otherwise, he will remain in LA on an incredibly cheap contract for two years.

Last season, Christian Wood shot 37.6 percent from 3-point range on just over four attempts per game. Standing at 6-foot 10-inches, Wood remained active on the boards, grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game coming off the bench for the Mavs. The season prior, Wood snagged a career high 10.3 rebounds per contest as a starter in Houston.

While Wood’s physical build and scoring ability make him a seemingly great fit for any of the NBA’s 30 teams, he went unsigned for a long time in free agency due to his negative perception across the league and his disappointing defense.

Dallas finished the 2021-22 season with the Association’s fifth-worst defensive rating. Bringing Wood to the Mavs was under the guise that he would improve their interior defense and pairing well next to Luka Doncic on offense. Instead, Wood failed to impact the Mavericks and had a tumultuous relationship with the coaching staff.

With all the negativity surrounding Wood, his chance with the Lakers may be one of his last. The 27-year-old center battled his way from the G-League into the NBA and became a favorite among many fanbases for some time. His reputation began to diminish after a suspension for locker room behavior on the Houston Rockets. Though Wood is young and only now entering his prime, his career may be cut short if he cannot recuperate his public perception on the Lakers.

Fortunately, Los Angeles will be an ideal opportunity for him to do so. The Lakers need his skillset, and his defensive shortcomings will be minimized by Davis’ dominance. Signing Wood not only gave the Lakers another possible option off the bench. The team knows Wood will need to prove his value, meaning they could get the best version of Christian Wood on a minimum deal.

For a team with a rising price tag, signing a possible starter or sixth man on a veteran minimum could be a catalyst for success. Should Wood fail to impact the Lakers, the cost is low. This move is undeniably a win for the Lakers, regardless of Wood’s outcome as a member of the team.

This offseason was an active success for an emerging contender in a loaded Western Conference. Under GM Rob Pelinka’s guidance, the Lakers are poised for a tremendous resurgence after their loss to the Denver Nuggets.