The Toronto Raptors uncharacteristically made three free agent signings within the first 18 hours of the frenzy. Thad Young and Chris Boucher both resigned, and Otto Porter Jr. left the champion Warriors to join Toronto. Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant could be next on their list.
Bryant would have been in for a huge payday if only his production was considered, but he will likely need to take a shorter “prove it” deal after missing most of the last two seasons thanks to injuries. Masai Ujiri will need to be very patient with him if he wants to make him a Raptor.
The Raptors have two backup centers in Khem Birch and Christian Koloko. Still, the former is coming off a very disappointing, injury-filled season and the latter is a second-round rookie who will likely spend time in the G League. Ujiri could look to add someone who can help Toronto win now.
Brad Turner of the LA Times is reporting that the Lakers have a strong interest in retaining Bryant, but they can only offer him the veteran minimum. The Raptors are reportedly interested in his services, meaning that he could be their final big-name free agent signing.
Thomas Bryant might sign with the Toronto Raptors.
The risk with Bryant lies in the fact that he has played just 37 games over the past two seasons due to injury. The reason Toronto wants him (on top of the fact he is 6-10 with a 7-6 wingspan) is that he was emerging as one of the game’s best two-way centers in Washington.
From 2018 to 2021, Bryant averaged 11.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game. Even though he only shot a handful of 3-point attempts per game, he still connected on 37% of them. With so many postseason hopefuls after him, it seems like the league is very bullish on his potential.
Toronto would likely need to pull off a trade in order to have enough room for Bryant, as they have 12 guaranteed contracts to go along with two partial guarantees (Dalano Banton, Armoni Brooks) and the unsigned Koloko. Bryant might be worth creating a spot for if he can return to his old form.
Bryant is a huge upgrade over Birch and a potentially raw Koloko if his health doesn’t end up being a question mark. Toronto loves their long defenders, and there aren’t many available free agents left that are better than a healthy Bryant.