Wood and the Lakers made for a sensible fit from the start, but it sure took a while for it to happen as Wood saw his value on the market bottom out to the veteran minimum he'll receive from the Lakers, who, in terms of value and upside, get a terrific pickup here.
Wood will make $2.7 million this season, and he'll have a 2024-25 player option for just north of $3M, per ESPN's Bobby Marks. That's big for Wood, who can use this season to re-establish some market value if he's able to be a productive player for a contending team.
Right now, the perception around Wood is that he's an empty-stats, suspect locker-room guy who doesn't impact winning. Why else would a 6-foot-10 center who averaged north of 16 points and seven rebounds per game on 51-38 shooting splits last season be available in September for a veteran minimum deal?
Meanwhile, the Lakers take basically a risk-free shot at what could be a big-time contributor. Wood gives the Lakers added big-man depth alongside Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes, and he can potentially be crucial in non-Davis minutes while possibly serving in two-big lineups alongside Davis as a floor stretcher.
Wood thrived as a two-man partner with Luka Doncic because of his shooting ability; he should do the same with LeBron James and Austin Reaves. His defense leaves a lot to be desired, but playing in AD lineups can potentially curb some of that negative impact.
And let's face it, Wood can be a better defender. This is his chance to prove it if he wants to go back on the market next summer and secure a long-term deal. Wood surely wanted to secure a bigger deal this summer but it didn't happen. Once it got this late, this is as good an opportunity as he could've hoped for. Now it's up to him to take advantage of it.