The Los Angeles Lakers continued their youth movement in free agency, this time coming to terms with a familiar face in Thomas Bryant.
Bryant spent the past four seasons with the Washington Wizards and after coming back from a torn ACL, appears ready to play a rotational role for the Lakers. Alongside Damian Jones, Los Angeles has assembled a solid frontcourt rotation to pair with Anthony Davis.
The big man had his fair share of offers from teams but explained the people from the Lakers organization helped sway him back to L.A.
“Well I picked L.A. because there was a certain need and want that I felt from the guys and the coaches,” Bryant said during his introductory press conference. “That was really the selling point right there was just the need and want and the attention to detail, conversations that I had with the coaches and the staff here along with the players as well.”
For someone so young to be on their second stint with a team is rare in the NBA and Bryant admitted that it’s hard for him to believe he’s back with the Lakers. “I’m not gonna lie, it is kind of weird walking back through these halls. It’s like super surreal, it’s like déjà vu doing this all over again from when I first got here. That feeling I had when I first got here, I still have that same feeling. So it just feels great to be here.”
The Lakers originally drafted Bryant in the second round in 2018 but wound up waiving him following his rookie season. Now that he’s back, he acknowledged that his departure was able to help him grow as a player and person.
“Just gave me another obstacle to try to overcome. It gave me a lot of mental toughness that I had to get through and it gets you stronger through the times. The stuff that happens, you can either dwell on it or look a the bright side and fix it. That’s what I tried to do was look at the bright side and just go out there and fix it.”
The Purple and Gold needed a center who can stretch the defense and run the floor, so having Bryant back in the fold is a positive sign for the team’s prospects heading into the 2022-23 season.
Thomas Bryant didn’t know reunion with Lakers was possible
It’s a full-circle moment for Bryant to end up back with the team that drafted him in 2017 but even he didn’t think a reunion was possible.
“To be honest, I never even knew that door was still open,” Bryant said while laughing. “But like I said, it’s super surreal to be back and just for the Lakers organization to want me back, it really does a good deal of self confidence for me going forward in my career.”
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