Lakers are signing center Thomas Bryant to a one-year contract

·2 min read
Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (13) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. The Wizards won 116-113. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Then-Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant reacts to a play against the Detroit Pistons on March 1. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

The Lakers are adding center Thomas Bryant in free agency, sources told The Times. Bryant, 24, spent his rookie season with the team after being selected in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft.

Bryant is expected to compete for a spot in the Lakers' starting lineup, sources said.

When healthy, Bryant has shown the ability to be a stretch-five, making more than 40% of his three-point tries in limited action during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Bryant suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in January 2021 while with the Washington Wizards. At the time, he was averaging 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

His contract with the Lakers is for the one-year veteran’s minimum.

He joins a free-agency class built on youth and upside, joining Lonnie Walker IV and Tony Brown Jr.. The team also signed Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones. All of the new Lakers are younger than 30.

The Lakers have 13 players under contract, not counting rookie Max Christie, who hasn’t yet signed his rookie deal. Assuming he does, the team will have one open roster spot, though the Lakers can create another by waiving Wenyen Gabriel.

The team only can sign players with the veteran’s minimum.

Bryant played 27 games last season for the Wizards after recovering from his knee injury, averaging 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes.

He, like Jones, was previously with the Lakers organization, playing 15 games in the 2017-18 season. The Lakers waived him after that season as the team tried to clear cap space in its pursuit of LeBron James in free agency.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.