Thomas Bryant chooses Lakers over Celtics in free agency

Report: Free-agent big man joining Lakers despite Celtics interest originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Thomas Bryant seemed an intriguing option for the Celtics in the early stages of NBA free agency, but it appears he’s headed to Boston’s historic rival.

The free-agent big man has inked a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, which will give him a chance to compete for the starting center position, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported late Tuesday night. The salary details of Bryant’s deal were not reported.

Haynes listed Boston and Los Angeles as Teams with “significant interest” in Bryant last week and noted Tuesday that the Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks were also all chasing the 24-year-old.

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The Celtics could use a backup big man behind talented but injury-prone center Robert Williams and 36-year-old big man Al Horford, especially after center Daniel Theis’ trade to the Indiana Pacers in the Malcolm Brogdon deal.

Bryant would likely have been the seventh or eighth man in Boston’s rotation, however, and it appears the young center is seeking more playing time by joining the team where he began his NBA career in 2017.

Bryant has only played 37 games over the past two seasons due to a cruciate ligament tear but has a career average of 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game with plenty of upside potential. With his name off the board, the Cs can look elsewhere for reserve frontcourt assistance.

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