Woods will make just less than $1 million, so he ostensibly takes the Jamal Sampson roster spot. The biggest apparent difference, though, is that it looks like Woods will leap over Vitaly Potapenko for the second center spot.
Woods makes perfect sense for a one-year deal at the back-up center. If things don't work out, he's not tying up any cap space past this season. Other Kings targets like Michael Olowokandi and Kelvin Cato probably would've wanted to go with a multi-year deal - two or three seasons at the low-level exception, most likely. While that's also cheap and Kandi-Man and Cato are slightly more proven at the pro level, that ties up important salary cap dollars for multiple seasons. That makes drafting a big or signing a young center long-term difficult. With a young center on a one-year deal, there's maximum flexibity going into the next offseason with minimum risk involved.
And as we said Thursday night when we broke the rumor, Woods has shown acceptable levels of rebounding and defense. Some message board posters have argued that anyone who loses his starting job to Rafael Araujo is garbage. But how much of L Woods getting benched had to do with Rafael Araujo, and how much of it had to do with the Toronto front office wanting to prove to the world Araujo was worth that high lottery pick?
Here are LW's stats in the games he started in 2004-05: In just under 20 minutes, he scored 4 points, got 6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and shot about 42 percent. We're not talking about Ben Wallace here, but isn't that pretty nice for a guy that was on those awful Toronto Raptors with the shortest leash in the biz and one of the worst NBA coaches in memory? (Bill Russell aside.)
The best part is that Woods is playing for his NBA life. Motivation shouldn't be a problem: He fails now, and he might not get another domestic contract. He has Ron Artest alongside him, and fellow Arizona star Mike Bibby. He's got an incredible chance to get into good favor with a brand new coach, a coach who rewards hard work and dedication. He's apparently good friends with Kevin Martin, who will make the leap this season. He's got the most passionate fans in America behind him, just glad Brian Skinner or Vitaly Potapenko aren't serious threats for big minutes off the bench. He's got a completely fresh start, and for the first time in two seasons, hope of getting a fair shake.
L Woods might not be the guy to put Sacramento over the top, but he's a nice little addition. If he overachieves and becomes a dependable force off the pine, Petrie looks like a genius. If he plays down to his NBA past, no one will remember a year from now and the team will just have to depend on Miller playing 36 minutes a night, Potapenko being acceptable for 10 minutes, or Justin Williams developing quicker than hell.
By the way, here's the depth chart:
That's 17. At least two players have to be dropped. Unless Petrie can find a way to unload Corliss, Hart, and/or Potapenko, the firing line will likely be Jeter, Williams, Amundson. Let's hope the youngsters can stick around and second-round draft picks can be had for the three expendables. Or, a two-for-one trade can be worked somehow.