The Los Angeles Lakers have approached free agency this year drastically different than last year.
General manager Rob Pelinka has focused on younger players rather than older ones with no player signed over the age of 30. The average age of Pelinka’s signings this summer is currently 25.
Coming into free agency, 3-and-D wings were the priority, as well as centers to line up next to Anthony Davis. At 6-foot-6, former Chicago Bull and Washington Wizard Troy Brown Jr. fit the build and signed a veteran’s minimum early into free agency.
Brown, the No. 15 pick in the 2018 Draft, will fit in nicely with the Purple and Gold. He was a huge fan of Kobe Bryant and called Kobe and teammate LeBron James major inspirations. Now, Brown will take the court with James while wearing Bryant’s colors.
“It’s dope. I think it’s one of those things where, when you’re in it at the moment, you don’t appreciate it as much as you probably should,” Brown said at his introductory press conference. “But when you look back on it you’re grateful for those interactions and grateful for that stuff that I feel like it sticks with you for a lifetime. There’s gonna be moments where Bron is yelling at people and stuff like that and you’re being a teammate and you’re not thinking about it.
“But then it’s like a couple years down the road, you look up and you’re like damn that might resonate with me somewhere else or something like that. I think it’s definitely one of those things where as a player you have to soak in those moments when you can, but definitely not harp on it. But yea I think it’s definitely gonna be a good year and I’m looking forward to it.”
The two Laker greats have positively impacted Brown’s career. He interacted with Kobe when the forward was at a Nike camp and Bryant offered advice to the group of players, telling them a story about defying a teacher’s advice to not put all his eggs in one basket.
Reflecting on his interaction with Bryant has been pinned on Brown’s Twitter since the day of Kobe’s tragic death:
U shared small piece of wisdom
to a kid from Las Vegas Nevada…
and it changed my life forever
Thank you Kobe. 💔 R.I.P https://t.co/FhnobfHyHo
— Troy Brown Jr (@Troy_Brown33) January 27, 2020
Brown’s affinity for Bryant and James will surely be added motivation to make the fit work with the Lakers this season.
Thomas Bryant signs veteran deal with Lakers
The Lakers continued their activity in free agency signing former Lakers center Thomas Bryant. The 24-year-old had limited appearances last season with the Wizards, playing 27 games. He was coming off a torn ACL suffered in Jan. 2021.
Bryant, however, is a stretch big man that will likely be paired alongside Anthony Davis. His perimeter shooting also helps the Lakers play lineups with Russell Westbrook.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!