The Los Angeles Lakers have been hard at work in free agency looking to make the necessary additions to the roster to help turn around things after a rough last season. The team has already reportedly agreed to deals with multiple players, but continued to be linked to big man Thomas Bryant as another potential addition.
Bryant was originally a second-round draft pick of the Lakers back in 2017, but the team waived him after his rookie season in order to clear salary-cap space to sign LeBron James. Bryant wound up being claimed by the Washington Wizards, where he has spent the last four seasons.
Now as an unrestricted free agent, Bryant was being pursued by both the Lakers and Boston Celtics, but it was the Lakers who ultimately won out, agreeing to a minimum deal with the 24-year-old according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Free agent center Thomas Bryant has reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year deal, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Bryant will be given the opportunity to win the starting center position, sources said.
The addition of Bryant really helps to solidify the Lakers’ big man rotation along with Anthony Davis and free agent signing Damian Jones. While Jones is more of an athletic rim-running type, Bryant brings another dimension with his perimeter shooting ability.
The big man had his best season in 2020, averaging 13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 40.7% from 3-point range. But Bryant has played in just 37 games over the last two seasons thanks to a torn ACL suffered in Jan. 2021 that kept him out for a year.
Bryant struggled to regain his form upon returning to the Wizards last season, but with a full offseason to be able to train and more time removed from the huge injury, he could be in line for a season much more akin to what he showed off two years ago.
Lakers agree to contracts with Walker IV, Toscano-Anderson and Brown Jr.
In addition to the signings of Bryant and Jones, the Lakers also addressed the backcourt and wing on the first day of free agency. They had one taxpayer mid-level exception to give out, which they used to sign San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV.
L.A. then added two more players on minimum contracts in Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano Anderson and Chicago Bulls guard Troy Brown Jr.
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