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Christian Wood agrees to two-year deal to join Lakers

Dallas Mavericks v Memphis Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 20: Christian Wood #35 of the Dallas Mavericks goes to the basket during the game on March 20, 2023 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers get another center for their rotation, and Christian Wood gets a chance to showcase himself on a big stage then be back out on the free agent market next year if he chooses.

After more than a month of rumors the sides were near a deal, Christian Wood agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, which other reporters confirmed, then ultimately Wood himself removed any doubt.

This is a veteran minimum contract — $2.7 million this season, the most the Lakers could offer — with a $3 million player option for next year. While league sources told NBC Sports the Lakers’ offer has been on the table for a while, Wood was reportedly holding out to see how the situation with the Miami Heat would shake out after a possible Damian Lillard trade (the Heat might have been able to offer more money). Eventually, Woods decided to take the sure thing offer in front of him before the Lakers turned to someone else.

Woods is a bucket-getter on offense who averaged 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds a game last season for the Mavericks. He also spaces the floor from the five, shooting 37.6% from 3 last season. The fact that he put up those numbers but still fell out of Jason Kidd’s rotation in Dallas speaks to the concerns about his game — a lack of defense and a perception he is counting his stats and not doing the little things that help a team win. The Lakers, with a strong culture led by LeBron James and coach Darvin Ham, plus the fact Wood needs to fit in and play well if he wants a bigger payday, has Los Angeles thinking things will be better than in Dallas.

Bottom line: Los Angeles just landed the best available center on the market on a minimum contract — this is a good signing.

Anthony Davis is the best center on the Lakers — and one of the best in the league — and while he will close games at the five he doesn’t want to play there full time and take a pounding from the league’s larger centers. The Lakers also signed the athletic Jaxson Hayes to play center, and Rui Hachimura can play some limited minutes as a small-ball five. Wood is going to be given minutes in that mix to start this season, the question is can he keep them?

This is another good signing for a Lakers team that had a solid off-season building on what worked and got them to the conference finals last season.