Thomas Bryant, one of the season’s unexpected bright lights, is reportedly being traded by the Lakers to the Nuggets for Davon Reed and three second-round selections in an unexpected move before the trade deadline.
Bryant has been one of the team’s best surprises during Anthony Davis’ injury, scoring 12.1 points per game this year.
Lakers get Denver’s seconds in 2025, 2026 and 2029, sources tell ESPN. Moving Bryant opens up minutes for Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel in rotation. https://t.co/y7ghFZKhIA
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
Shooting guard Davon Reed is in his fourth season in the league and has played for four different teams. He has played in just 114 games in his career and 35 for Denver this season, making him a rarely-used player. Reed has a career 3-point percentage of 38.4% but only shoots 36.4% this year.
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In his return to his pre-injury form and at times acting as a significant lift for the Lakers, Bryant shone brightly this season. He is averaging the second-most rebounds of his career and has the best true shooting percentage. He is shooting 44% from outside the arc this season on slightly more than one attempt per game.
Even though his second stint in Los Angeles was brief, Bryant’s presence in the iconic photograph of LeBron James breaking the scoring record will live on in Lakers and NBA history. Honesty, I applaud him.
His defensive flaws were ultimately quite obvious, and they occasionally cost the Lakers. Similarly, the Lakers were almost likely not going to be able to pay Bryant what he would receive on the open market because he was due for a significant paycheck this offseason.
The team decided to take advantage of Bryant’s performance thus far this season and do him a favor by moving him to a better circumstance for himself while replenishing their draught assets after using a number of them in trades thus far this season.
Bryant had out-played his contract with the Lakers and with the team moving over the cap via trades, it was best to route him to a new home instead of losing him for nothing this summer https://t.co/bT4JTY0G7L
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 9, 2023
Bryant had grown unhappy with his diminished PT since AD returned and asked LAL to look for a better situation. He’d also outplayed his contract & LA only has mid-level to re-sign him— so they opted to give his minutes to Wenyen Gabriel & replenish the picks they gave up for Rui. https://t.co/OLaVrB9AkN
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 9, 2023
Wenyen Gabriel will get more playing time as a result, as mentioned by Woike and Wojnarowski. Gabriel has been left out of the rotation ever since Anthony Davis returned. Only three of the team’s last seven games have seen Gabriel play, and one of those games only saw him participate for a few garbage time minutes.
Bryant became more expendable as a result of the acquisition of Jarred Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt can play the four or the five, and his ability to grab rebounds was comparable to Bryant’s.
Since they had a lot of players who could step in for Bryant on the roster and the ability to add more, the Lakers effectively capitalized on his successful season. At the end of the day, the Lakers moved Bryant for three second-round picks after signing him to a minor contract, which is an excellent business.
And now that the trade deadline has passed, the Lakers have extra draught picks with which to pursue trade partners and a roster slot that they may use to look for players — perhaps another backup center — on the buyout market.
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