The Los Angeles Lakers announced they signed former Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant to a one-year deal. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but it is believed to be for the veteran’s minimum.
Bryant had been weighing offers from several teams like the Toronto Raptors, but decided to come back to Los Angeles, who selected him with the No. 42 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Bryant was waived in 2018 and signed with the Wizards, where he spent four seasons.
The 24-year-old suffered an ACL injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the 2020-21 season as well as most of the 2021-22 season. He appeared in 27 games this past year and averaged 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Bryant was arguably the best center left on the free agency market due to his age, upside and ability to shoot from the outside. Bryant struggled from beyond the arc after coming back from his ACL injury but shot above 40 percent the previous two years.
For the Lakers, this rounds out their center rotation of Anthony Davis and Damian Jones and gives them more versatility in the front court. Per reports, Bryant will compete and likely earn the team’s starting center job, which fits the mold of head coach Darvin Ham’s 4-out, 1-in offensive philosophy.
Another reason to like this signing is that it fits the direction that Rob Pelinka outlined earlier in the offseason, saying Los Angeles needed to get younger and more athletic across the board. Even after a major injury, Bryant showed he still has a good motor on both ends of the floor and that will serve him well during his second stint with the Purple and Gold.
With one more roster spot remaining, the Lakers can go in a multitude of directions but Bryant’s signing may be the last free agent add before the start of the 2022-23 season.
Anthony Davis training with shooting coach every morning
Even after signing Bryant, Davis will be relied upon to hit perimeter jump shots to provide the spacing needed for the rest of the offense to operate. To that point, Davis has made an effort to improve his shooting stroke as he has been in the gym with Lethal Shooter every morning during the summer.
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