Free-agent Thomas Bryant is reportedly putting the Lakers on hold as he waits to make his final decision on which team he plans to sign with in NBA free agency this summer. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers offered Bryant a veteran’s minimum deal, but the 24-year-old is also considering the Toronto Raptors, who have also shown interest in signing him.
Earlier in the day, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports linked Bryant to the Celtics as well.
Bryant, who began his career with the purple and gold, is one of the few big men left in the free agency market. He’s coming off a season averaging 7.4 points and 4 rebounds a game along with 52% shooting from the field for the Washington Wizards. The main concern with Bryant is his injury history, as he recently just recovered from an ACL tear that he suffered two seasons ago.
However, putting possible injury issues aside, Bryant would be an ideal fit for this current Lakers roster, which badly needs a stretch five and more height and depth in the center position. The 42nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft has proven that he can hit jumpers from outside the paint, score efficiently inside, and be useful on the defensive end.
Here’s Thomas Bryant’s catch and shoot three numbers last year: 12/41 (28.6%)
His combined numbers for his career before then: 76/197 (38.5%)
The Lakers are likely betting on the benefits of a full summer of injury rehab & playing next to LeBron/AD lead to positive regression. https://t.co/BT1MTZguv7
— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) July 1, 2022
With two more spots left to fill in their roster, it’s no surprise that the Lakers can only offer Bryant a veteran’s minimum deal. So, it’s hard to blame the center for taking his time to get back to the Lakers. Both Los Angeles and Toronto would likely make great use of Bryant’s service, so wherever he goes, he has the opportunity to rehabilitated his value, and if he plays well, potentially cash in next summer.
But the most appealing part about the Lakers’ offer is the opportunity to compete for a championship. If, of course, everything falls in the right place for Los Angeles. If Bryant does sign with the Lakers, it’ll be the first time he finds himself playing in what is expected to be a championship contender. We’ll see over the next few hours and days if that’s enough to sway him.