The Los Angeles Lakers had a pretty satisfactory offseason, as they have a good balance and depth in the roster. The LA side opted for a star-studded roster in the previous few seasons. But, the front office realized the value of balance after the team failed to make the postseason in the 2021-22 season. Later, they didn’t start well in the 2022-23 season. Hence, in the mid-season, some changes were necessary. The LA side made the necessary changes and could see the difference right away. From nowhere, the 17-time champions managed to make the postseason. Against all odds, the Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals. Since then, the front office planned to keep the core together and maintain the balance in the roster.
They extended Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt, and D’Angelo Russell’s contract in the offseason. Moreover, Anthony Davis was eligible for a contract extension in the offseason. Hence, the Lakers wasted no time in extending AD’s contract for another three years. But there was a need for a reinforcement who could take some load off AD. It is essential because Anthony Davis is very injury-prone. The eight-time All-Star can miss a lot of games due to too much stress. After all, he leads the team from defense as well as in the offense. Hence, Rob Pelinka was looking for a big center that could help AD with load management. Christian Wood from the Dallas Mavericks was in Pelinka’s mind. But it took a long time for Pelinka to convince Wood.
Lakers GM Revealed How Tough It Was To Convince Christian Wood
In the offseason, Christian Wood was a free agent after playing for the Dallas Mavericks in the previous season. Moreover, in his last season, Christian Wood had an average of 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. On top of that, Wood has played for many franchises over the years, like New York Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and, lately, the Mavericks. In the offseason, the Lakers signed with Christian Wood for a two-year deal worth $5.7 million. Recently, in an interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Rob Pelinka mentioned how Wood gave him a hard time this offseason.
Rob Pelinka says that he spoke to Christian Wood's agent on a nearly daily basis for several months while pursuing Wood as a free agent this summer. Pelinka said that Wood chose the Lakers over offers from other contenders and cited the way Malik Monk and Dennis Schroder came to…— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 28, 2023
Moreover, he had been talking with Wood’s agent for a long time on a daily basis before Wood signed with the Lakers. Christian Wood had plenty of offers from different teams. But Wood previously had said that it was his dream to play for the Lakers. However, Rob Pelinka said what convinced Wood to sign with the Lakers was the positive growth of players like Dennis Schroder and Malik Monk. Playing for the Lakers helps in building and rebuilding the values of these players and establishing a firm place in the league. Moreover, many key players, including Anthony Davis, encouraged the front office to sign Wood.
How Much The LeBron James Effect Can Help Rui Hachimura Grow As A Player
On the other hand, the LA side’s GM mentioned they have a lot of expectations from Rui Hachimura. Throughout the offseason, he had been training with LeBron James. Moreover, King James called Rui his understudy. Last season in the playoffs, the Gonzaga product really impressed everybody with his three-pointers.
Rob Pelinka says that Rui Hachimura had "a personal renaissance" after the trade deadline last year, and that he spent much of the summer training with LeBron.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 28, 2023
"I think he's just hitting the take-off of the flight he's going to go on… He's going to have a huge year."
And his performance in general has been impressive. That’s why he was a restricted free agent in the offseason like Austin Reaves. Rob Pelinka feels Hachimura came alive as a player again after joining the Lakers from the Washington Wizards. The Lakers GM feels Hachimura will have a big year ahead.