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Lakers to sign Thomas Bryant to compete for starting center job, per report: NBA free agency


In 2018, Bryant spent his first season on the field in Los Angeles.

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According to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, Thomas Bryant, a former center for the Washington Wizards, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Haynes, Damian Jones, who the Lakers signed away from the Sacramento Kings, is Bryant’s sole rival for the starting center position, presuming Anthony Davis spends most of his minutes at power forward.

Now in their second seasons with the team, both Lakers centers. During the 2020–21 season, Jones briefly resided in Los Angeles before departing for Sacramento when his 10-day contracts ran out. The Lakers selected Bryant in the second round of the 2017 draft, but he was released after just one season.


He ended up flourishing while playing for the Washington Wizards. He was one of the more productive low-usage big men in basketball during his first 118 games as a Wizard, averaging 11.6 points on 60 percent shooting from the field and just under 37 percent from outside the arc. Bryant’s improved 3-point shooting is what the Lakers are most eager to see from him. The Lakers will have discovered a method to play Davis at his favorite power forward without compromising spacing if he converts his over 40% success rate from deep during the 2019–20 season.

The possibility exists that Bryant tore his ACL during the 2020–21 season and hasn’t yet recovered his former appearance. He only participated in 27 games last year and struggled to secure a consistent spot in the rotation behind Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford, and Montrezl Harrell.

The Lakers appear to be working on a trade for Kyrie Irving, but it’s important to remember that Bryant did spend his limited playing time during the 2020–21 season playing with Russell Westbrook. More time to get healthy on a roster with two Hall of Fame forwards next to him should only help Bryant. Whatever the point guard is, they would benefit from having a shooting center.


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