The Lakers and Nuggets have agreed to a trade that will send center Thomas Bryant to Denver in exchange for swingman Davon Reed and three second-round picks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the second-round picks are Denver’s own in 2025, 2026, and 2029. The Nuggets have now traded away all their second-rounders between 2025 and 2029.
Bryant, who signed a minimum-salary contract with the Lakers in the offseason, has filled in admirably as the Lakers’ starting center during Anthony Davis‘ injury absences this season, but has only played a modest backup role when Davis is healthy.
In 41 games (25 starts), Bryant has averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per contest. His .654% FG% is a career high, as is his .440 3PT% (albeit on limited volume).
Still, as long as Davis stays healthy, Bryant’s value to the Lakers wasn’t substantial, especially with newly acquired forward Jarred Vanderbilt expected to spend some time playing as a small-ball five. Los Angeles also has veteran big man Wenyen Gabriel for depth purposes up front and would have been limited in its ability to give Bryant a raise as a free agent this summer since the team only controlled his Non-Bird rights.
On top of all that, Bryant hadn’t been thrilled with his reduced role following Davis’ return, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who tweets that he asked the Lakers to look for a better situation for him.
It’s unclear if Reed will be in the Lakers’ plans going forward. He’s on a minimum-salary contract with a non-guaranteed salary in 2023/24 and hasn’t played much in Denver this season, averaging 2.3 PPG and 1.6 RPG on .313/.364/.750 shooting in 35 appearances (9.0 MPG). The second-round picks are the primary return for L.A. in the deal, essentially replacing the three second-rounders the club gave up for Rui Hachimura last month.
As for the Nuggets, they’ve been in the market for a reliable backup center behind two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, since offseason signee DeAndre Jordan hasn’t been a regular part of the rotation. Bryant should fill that role nicely, giving the team some extra frontcourt depth as it focuses on making a deep playoff run this spring.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, both teams will create small trade exceptions equivalent to the salaries of their outgoing players ($1.9MM for Denver; $1.84MM for L.A.). Neither the Nuggets nor the Lakers have to worry about salary-matching in the deal, since both players can be absorbed using the minimum salary exception.