The Celtics had an open offer out to Thomas Bryant to fill the backup center spot in the rotation, team sources tell Jared Weiss of The Athletic, but Bryant opted to join the Lakers on a one-year, minimum-salary deal because he has a chance to become the starting center. Other teams that were interested in Bryant’s services included the Raptors, Bucks and Jazz, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who reported that Bryant was signing with Los Angeles.
Weiss writes that Bryant was taking a wait-and-see approach to how the Kevin Durant situation might play out in case another opportunity arose, but he decided to accept the Lakers’ offer before it disappeared. As Weiss relays, with Bryant off the board and the free agent center options either aging or relatively unproven, it remains to be seen which player Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens might find to fill the backup role.
Here are a few more notes from Weiss about Boston’s plans for the rest of the roster:
- The Celtics are still considering ways to use the $17,142,857 traded player exception (created by the Evan Fournier sign-and-trade to New York last summer) that expires on July 18, as our tracker shows. However, Weiss reports that the team is unlikely to use it on a high-salary player due to luxury tax concerns. According to Danny Leroux of The Athletic, Boston is $20.2MM over the tax line with 12 players on the standard roster, which amounts to a $45.8MM tax bill. If the team used the full $17.1MM trade exception, that bill would nearly triple, per The Athletic.
- The backup center spot will be important for next season because the Celtics plan to limit Al Horford‘s minutes in the regular season, including sitting out “most” back-to-backs, team sources tell Weiss. Horford turned 36 last month and appeared in 92 games last season (regular season and postseason combined), so ensuring that he’s as spry as he was in the playoffs in 2021/22 is certainly a logical move for a team that hopes to compete for a title again next season.
- JD Davison, whom the Celtics selected 53rd in the draft a couple of weeks ago, will sign a two-way deal with Boston, but sources tell Weiss that Davison will be given the opportunity to earn a standard roster spot over the coming months. Brodric Thomas, who was on a two-way contract with the Celtics last season and is currently a restricted free agent, will also be given a chance to win one of the final roster spots, according to Weiss.