Thomas Bryant

L.A. Notes: Pistons, Cousins, Lakers Frontcourt, Clippers

The Lakers have long been linked to forward Bojan Bogdanovic — back when he was still on Utah and in the months since he was traded to Detroit. In an article about potential deadline buyers and sellers with Chris Mannix, Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated hears that the Lakers and Pistons “have discussed a deal that would include both Bogdanovic and Nerlens Noel.”

Rumors last month indicated that the Lakers offered Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-round pick for Bogdanovic, but this is the first time we’ve seen them linked to Noel this season. Adding his $9.24MM salary to that framework complicates a trade from a salary-matching perspective — the Lakers would have to add three players on minimum salaries.

Replacing Beverley and Nunn with Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring deal would mean the Pistons would have to add more salary, so more players would have to be involved in either scenario.

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • DeMarcus Cousinsaudition for the Lakers is scheduled for today, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. In case you missed it, the Lakers are also working out Meyers Leonard today. Both big men are unrestricted free agents.
  • LeBron James said earlier this week that he believes a frontcourt with himself, Anthony Davis and Thomas Bryant “could be extremely beneficial for our ballclub.” Head coach Darvin Ham agreed that it was worth looking into, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). “They’re all highly skilled players. … They can all score at all three levels. They can defend. They all can have good activity, good instincts. So, yeah, that’s something we’ll definitely take a look at,” Ham said.
  • In an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today, Richard Jefferson said there might be some interference from the Clippers‘ front office when it comes to coaching decisions. “This is pure speculation… I’m hearing grumblings that people up top are having opinions about who should be playing… There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen and that is never a good recipe,” he said (Twitter video link via Talkin’ NBA). Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put much stock into something that Jefferson says is “pure speculation,” but he does have connections to the Clippers — he played under head coach Tyronn Lue with the Cavaliers and under president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank when Frank coached the Nets.
  • Lue told reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter video link), that Paul George (hamstring) and Luke Kennard (calf) would not practice with the Clippers on Thursday, but both players were working out and shooting prior to practice. George has been ruled out for Friday’s contest against Denver and Kennard seems unlikely to suit up.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Pacific players.

Russell Westbrook, G, Lakers

  • 2022/23: $47,063,478
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

There were concerns about whether Westbrook would accept a more limited role entering the 2022/23 season, given his combativeness and lack of accountability at the end last season’s disastrous campaign. He clearly didn’t respect former head coach Frank Vogel, despite the Lakers winning a title under Vogel in ’19/20.

The ’16/17 league MVP is on the downside of his career at 34 years old, and he’s certainly not going to approach his current salary on an annual basis in free agency. Moving to the bench also hasn’t helped him score more efficiently — his 49.3 true shooting percentage is his lowest mark in 13 years, and very close to a career low (48.9 as a rookie).

So why is his stock up?

His attitude, effort level and effectiveness on defense have changed dramatically under Darvin Ham. He’s also been less of a ball-hog and a more willing passer in ’22/23.

Before the season started, I thought he might be looking at a one-year deal in the $3-7MM range in free agency. Now, I think he could get something like a two-year deal for the standard mid-level exception ($23.3MM), although it is admittedly difficult to come up a list of suitors – his playing style is polarizing.

JaMychal Green, F/C, Warriors

  • 2022/23: $2,628,597

    • Note: Green is also earning $5,571,403 from his previous contract with the Thunder.
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

Taking into account his full salary following a buyout agreement with the Thunder, Green has earned between $7MM and $8.5MM in five of the past six seasons primarily due to his inside-outside game and ability to rebound at a solid clip.

However, the outside part of his game has been lacking the past two seasons. He shot just 26.6% from deep with the Nuggets in ‘21/22 and is at 26.5% through 28 games this season.

Green is still rebounding well, but he’s turning the ball over more, has always been fairly foul-prone, and will be 33 in June. If the poor outside shooting continues, he’s likely looking at another veteran’s minimum deal in a best-case scenario, because he’s not big enough (6’8″, 227 pounds) to protect the rim as a center and isn’t shooting well enough to be serviceable as a stretch four.

Harrison Barnes, F, Kings

  • 2022/23: $18,352,273
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Neutral

Barnes had a very slow start this season, averaging just 9.9 points on a .368/.167/.800 shooting line through nine games. Unsurprisingly, he has rebounded nicely by averaging 15.9 PPG on .505/.378/.818 shooting over the past 30 contests, with only four games below double-digit points.

The 31-year-old doesn’t excel in any one area, but he does a lot of things pretty well, and he also doesn’t have easily exploitable weaknesses. Those types of players tend to be even more valuable in the postseason than the regular season, so Barnes will have a long list of suitors if he reaches free agency.

Barnes is in the last year of a four-year, $85MM contract. Being on the wrong side of 30 hurts a little (he turns 31 in May), but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to land another deal at similar value.

Thomas Bryant, C, Lakers

  • 2022/23: $2,133,278
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Bryant, 25, has been one of the league’s best bargains this season, producing at a high level offensively while pulling down 11.8 rebounds per 36 minutes on a veteran’s minimum deal. He plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, something the Lakers desperately needed.

Given his defensive limitations, I’m not sure you necessarily want him to be a full-time starter – having a solid foundation in the middle is really important. Still, he has shown that he’s over his ACL tear and will certainly command a raise as a free agent – something in the $7-12MM range annually should be within reach.

Dario Saric, F/C, Suns

  • 2022/23: $9,240,000
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Down

Saric’s current situation is somewhat reminiscent of Bryant’s last season — the reason Bryant got a “prove it” contract for the minimum is that he didn’t quite look fully recovered from his ACL tear. Unless he turns things around in the second half of ‘22/23, that’s likely what Saric will be facing in the offseason as well, because he’s struggled mightily to this point.

Having said that, he’s only 28, and his game isn’t predicated on athleticism, so there’s a chance he could be a nice buy-low candidate in free agency.

Anthony Davis Could Return In A Couple Weeks

The Lakers are optimistic that Anthony Davis could return to the lineup in a couple weeks, sources tell ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Davis will begin ramping up his rehab when the team returns to Los Angeles later this week, McMenamin reports. The Lakers play in Denver tonight, but then have a five-game home stand starting Thursday against Dallas.

The 29-year-old is dealing with a bone spur fractured off the navicular bone in his right foot, as well as a stress reaction in that same bone. However, it’s the stress reaction that has been Davis’ primary focus, with the bone spur considered an old injury that he’s been unknowingly playing through for several years.

Davis sustained the stress reaction on December 16 against Denver. He was dominating on both ends of the court leading up to the injury, averaging an eye-popping 35.0 points, 14.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals on 64.1% shooting in his last 12 full games.

Both Davis and head coach Darvin Ham told reporters at the end of last month that the pain from the stress reaction had subsided, with Davis hopeful that he might be able to return in around four weeks, though he wasn’t committed to that number. Still, McMenamin’s report lines up with what Davis said, so it appears things have been going well since the last update.

Center Thomas Bryant, who is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, has excelled in Davis’ absence, McMenamin notes. In the 12 games since Davis got injured, Bryant is averaging 16.9 points and 10.6 rebounds while shooting 66.9% from the floor and 74.2% from the line.

The Lakers have gone 7-5 during that span. During the team’s five-game winning streak, Bryant is averaging 21.2 points and 13.6 rebounds while shooting 71.9% from the floor and 86.7% from the line.

Superstar forward LeBron James believes the three players can be successful together, though Bryant and Davis have yet to share the court this season, according to McMenamin.

I’ve already kind of had visions of what that could possibly look like with the frontcourt of myself, AD and Thomas on the floor together,” James said of Bryant’s contributions. “I think it could be extremely beneficial for our ballclub.”

Speaking of James, he has been downgraded to questionable for Monday’s contest due to left ankle soreness, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

The Lakers are currently 19-21, the No. 11 seed in the West, but only trail the No. 5 seed Kings by two games.

Lakers Notes: Draft Picks, LeBron, Walker, Davis, Brown, Schröder

Speaking to Chris Mannix of on The Crossover NBA Show,’s Howard Beck observes that the Lakers‘ front office vowed after LeBron James signed an offseason extension to upgrade its 2022/23 roster, but now seems less inclined to trade the team’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks for win-now pieces.

“I’ve heard rumblings, and these are only rumblings, I don’t want people to go too far with this or go crazy with the aggregation,” Beck said. “But a couple people around the league have told me in recent weeks that they believe that the front office has essentially been told not to trade the picks. That they’re guarding those.

“If that’s the case, that speaks to a couple things. One, you’re feeling pretty insecure about your future, post-LeBron. You think those picks are going to be so valuable in 2027 and 2029 that giving them up would be catastrophic for you. You’re also showing a lack of faith in your ability to trade those picks and find another way to rebuild in whatever the post-LeBron years are.

“You’re also indicating — again, if it’s true that they are just completely unwilling to put those picks on the table, then that means you’re also, by definition, willing to flush this season, because those are your best tools… for improving in the immediate term.”

Reports in recent months have indicated that the Lakers are only interested in moving both of those future first-round picks if there’s a deal that significantly improves their title chances. Anthony Davis‘ foot injury also reportedly lowered the chances that the club will trade one or both picks in a major trade, though if L.A. can stay in the play-in mix in the coming weeks and Davis returns later this month, perhaps the club will reconsider that stance at the February 9 trade deadline.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Head coach Darvin Ham said on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect either James (non-COVID illness) or Lonnie Walker (left knee soreness) to be out much longer, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Ham stated that LeBron is dealing with a “common cold,” while Walker has “a little bit of tendonitis.”
  • Ham also shared a minor update on Davis’ recovery, indicating that everything is “going right according to plan,” Goon adds. The Lakers have been conducting continuous MRIs on Davis’ injured foot and he hasn’t experienced any setbacks in his recovery process.
  • Lakers wing Troy Brown left Wednesday’s game due to a left quad strain and didn’t return, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The club has yet to issue an update on Brown’s status going forward, so it’s unclear whether he’ll miss additional time.
  • With the Lakers already shorthanded due to injuries, Dennis Schröder was determined to stay in Wednesday’s game after rolling his right ankle in the fourth quarter, McMenamin writes for Schröder not only finished the game — he scored a season-high 32 points and helped lead the Lakers to an improbable win over Miami. “I just try to be there for my teammates,” he said. “I felt pretty good after (turning the ankle). Of course, it was sore, and it hurt. But I know my limits.”
  • Schröder was one of several Lakers on minimum-salary contracts to play a major role in the victory, alongside Thomas Bryant (21 points, nine rebounds), Austin Reaves (11 points), and Wenyen Gabriel (10 points). “I just think different guys are settling into their roles, getting more comfortable with more reps, more minutes,” Ham said, per McMenamin. “When we do get our big dogs back, whether it’s Bron, AD, both of them back — Lonnie, as well — it just makes us that much stronger, that much deeper, because now guys have confidence. They have the ultimate confidence because they’ve gotten the reps.”

Pacific Notes: Baldwin, Wiseman, Sabonis, LeBron, Bryant

As the Warriors‘ nightmarish road trip wrapped up Wednesday in Brooklyn, there were encouraging signs from two players who spent much of the season in the G League, writes C.J. Holmes of The San Francisco Chronicle. Given extended minutes in the blowout loss, rookie forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. posted career highs with 17 points and five three-pointers and he got to experience his first matchup with Kevin Durant.

“I mean, KD is going to be KD,” Baldwin said. “He’s going to hit his tough shots. He’s going to get to his spots and I thought a lot of guys stepped up and accepted that challenge.”

Also setting a career high was third-year center James Wiseman, who made 12-of-14 shots from the field and scored 30 points. Holmes notes that he showed a soft touch around the basket and sank his first three-pointer of the season.

“James did a great job tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s fun to kind of see him let loose and get some minutes and make the most of it. He did a lot of good things offensively.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • After missing two games with an illness, Donte DiVincenzo should be able to return for the Warriors on Sunday against Memphis, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN. However, Andrew Wiggins (right adductor strain) and JaMychal Green (health and safety protocols) have both been ruled out.
  • X-rays confirmed that Kings big man Domantas Sabonis suffered an injury to his right hand Friday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Further testing will determine the extent of the damage, and Sabonis’ pain tolerance could factor into how much time he will miss. Sabonis leads the NBA with 23 double-doubles, and is one of three players averaging 10 rebounds and five assists per game, along with Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • With Anthony Davis injured, the Lakers need more from LeBron James than he’s capable of providing at nearly age 38, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Goodwill points out that James is taking the second-most shots of his career, while his efficiency is at the lowest point since 2015. He’s also attempting more three-pointers and fewer free throws this season and doesn’t appear capable of leading L.A. to the playoffs without another star on the court.
  • Thomas Bryant, who left Friday’s game with a shoulder injury, isn’t on the Lakers’ injury report for Sunday, tweets Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register.

Injury Notes: Giannis, Butler, Sabonis, Bryant

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo appears to have avoided a major injury after falling awkwardly on his right hand during Friday’s loss to Brooklyn, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game that X-rays on Antetokounmpo’s hand came back clean.

“Mostly means he’s OK,” Budenholzer said. “I’m sure he may be a little bit sore, a little bit banged up.”

Antetokounmpo injured his hand in the third quarter when he attempted to make his way to the basket and was spun to the ground by Nets forward Royce O’Neale (video link). Antetokounmpo told reporters that he considered it to be a clean, hard foul, though Budenholzer was less certain.

“I thought it was close to excessive,” Budenholzer said. “Borderline or close. The referees didn’t review it and didn’t think it was and I respect that decision and call. Felt like he kind of grabbed him and threw him down but it was probably a good, hard NBA foul.”

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Heat star Jimmy Butler sprained his ankle in the first quarter of Friday’s loss to Indiana and tried to play through it before eventually leaving the game in the fourth quarter, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Butler, who has already missed 12 games this season due to health issues, will be evaluated on Saturday to determine the severity of the sprain, Reynolds adds.
  • Domantas Sabonis exited the Kings‘ loss to Washington on Friday in the fourth quarter due to what appeared to be a right hand injury, according to James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter links). Head coach Mike Brown was unable to provide an update after the game, but as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee notes, it would be a major blow for the Kings if Sabonis has to miss any time. He has been on a tear as of late (19.9 PPG, 16.1 RPG, and 7.5 APG in his last 10 games) and the team hasn’t gotten consistent production from its backup centers.
  • Already missing starting center Anthony Davis, the Lakers saw fill-in starter Thomas Bryant leave Friday’s loss to Charlotte in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder injury, according to Janis Carr of The Southern California News Group, who says Bryant was holding the shoulder “in obvious pain.” Head coach Darvin Ham told reporters after the game that Bryant was still being evaluated and that there was no update yet, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Trade Market, LeBron, Bryant, Christie

The foot injury that Anthony Davis suffered last week has decreased the chances that the Lakers will gamble on a major trade, multiple sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. He adds that the only exception would be if the team can acquire a young star that it believes can succeed alongside Davis over the next few years.

Even before the Davis injury, the Lakers’ front office wasn’t confident that there was a trade available that would turn the team into contenders, Buha states. He suggests the most likely current scenario is a deal that would include some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-rounder in either 2027 or 2029 in exchange for a 3-and-D wing or a combo forward.

Along with the players who have already been linked to the Lakers in trade talks, Buha’s sources point to the SunsJae Crowder, the RocketsEric Gordon, the PistonsAlec Burks, the HornetsTerry RozierP.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. and the SpursJosh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl as players to watch.

There’s more on the Lakers, all from Buha:

  • LeBron James has posted four straight 30-point games, but his playing time is starting to become a concern. He’s averaged 39.2 minutes over the past five games, and the Lakers need to be careful that they don’t rely too heavily on him. Buha notes that James, who will turn 38 next week, ranks sixth in minutes per game among players with at least 50 total games over the past two seasons.
  • The loss of Davis has been eased somewhat by the emergence of Thomas Bryant. Buha states that Bryant was considered “almost unplayable” before Davis got hurt, but he’s averaging 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in the last three games while shooting 61.1% from the field and 55.6% from three-point range. The 25-year-old center joined the Lakers during the offseason on a veteran’s minimum contract and will be a free agent again next summer.
  • Rookie shooting guard Max Christie recently moved into the rotation and may be playing well enough to stay there. The second-round pick provides a much-needed 3-and-D option for coach Darvin Ham, and he’s one of the best rebounders among the team’s guards.
  • The starting backcourt of Beverley and Dennis Schroder hasn’t performed well, and Buha wonders why Ham keeps playing them together. The Lakers are minus-50 in 161 minutes when they’re on the court at the same time, and their skills seem to be redundant.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Bryant, Clippers, M. Brown, Warriors

The Lakers haven’t released any information on Anthony Davis, who was expected to have an MRI on his right foot, but he has been ruled out for Sunday’s game with the Wizards due to foot soreness, writes Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group.

Davis didn’t play in the second half Friday after tweaking his foot in a collision with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. While there’s no official word on Davis’ condition, there’s obviously concern after he missed more than a month with a sprained foot last season.

While Davis is sidelined, L.A. will rely on center Thomas Bryant, who is settling into his role after thumb surgery forced him to miss the first month of the season. Goon notes that Bryant replaced Davis on Friday and outscored Jokic, 16-13, in the second half.

“He came out and a really, really huge effort against a two-time MVP,” coach Darvin Ham said. “Really helped us on both sides of the basketball, just his energy and activity. His no-quit mentality. We needed that. He was a huge burst for us.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers‘ ups and downs continued this week as Kawhi Leonard delivered his best game since his ACL injury in a win over Boston, but half the team sat out a loss to Phoenix, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The Clippers may have enough talent to contend for an NBA title, but it’s hard to maintain any rhythm when their stars are in and out of the lineup. “It’s disappointing because we can’t stay healthy,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “… You hate to see it but if it’s gonna happen, I’d rather it happen early than late.”
  • Kings coach Mike Brown, who got ejected from a game in Toronto this week for arguing with officials, believes it’s part of the fight for respect for an organization with a long history of losing, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The incident cost Brown $25K, but his players were happy to see him do it. “Great, man, just knowing your coach has your back through thick and thin,” De’Aaron Fox said. “It starts at the top, goes from top to bottom, when trying to build a culture.”
  • Andre Snellings of ESPN looks at which Warriors might increase their production while Stephen Curry is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Anthony Davis Expected To Undergo MRI On Injured Foot

Lakers big man Anthony Davis will likely undergo an MRI after leaving Friday’s win over Denver due to a right foot injury, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

As McMenamin writes, the injury appeared to occur when Davis went up for a layup against Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and his lower leg collided with Jokic’s leg in midair. A source told ESPN on Friday night that Davis was experiencing discomfort in his foot, but the team is hoping the injury isn’t severe. Head coach Darvin Ham said that Davis had X-rays performed on the foot before leaving the arena.

“I don’t want to speak on it until I know exactly what’s going on,” Ham said after the game. “I’ll know more (Saturday).”

If Davis has to miss some time, it would be an unfortunate turn of events for the Lakers and for the 29-year-old, who has been one of the NBA’s hottest players in recent weeks. In his last 12 full games, he has averaged an eye-popping 35.0 points, 14.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals on 64.1% shooting.

Lakers center Thomas Bryant would be in line for a larger role if Davis is forced to the sidelines. Bryant started the third quarter in Davis’ place on Friday and finished the night with a season-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

L.A. Notes: Kawhi, George, Powell, Kennard, Ryan, Schröder, Bryant

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and Paul George (hamstring) appear to be close to returning from their respective injuries. Head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters on Friday that both Leonard and George are practicing today and are considered questionable to play on Saturday (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). The team will wait to see how the duo feels after practicing on Friday.

Norman Powell (groin) isn’t practicing today, while Luke Kennard (calf) has already been ruled out for Saturday, so even if Leonard and George are available, the Clippers will remain a little shorthanded for the time being. Still, Kennard is practicing on Friday and Lue sounds like he expects the sharpshooter to return soon.

“I’m excited to get guys back, PG and Kawhi, get Luke back,” Lue said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “But now we gotta wait on Norm so hopefully he feels better soon. But I am very excited just to kind of see what we have.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Leonard and George have had their availability impacted by health issues since joining the Clippers in 2019, but the team is “pot-committed” to the star duo, Brian Windhorst writes for With the franchise deep in tax territory and short on future draft assets, all signs point to the Clippers “keeping their chips firmly in the middle and adding to (the) pot if needed,” according to Windhorst.
  • After being waived this week by the Lakers, second-year wing Matt Ryan tweeted his appreciation to the organization for giving him a shot on a non-guaranteed deal this season. “Nothing but gratitude for the city of LA and the @Lakers!” he wrote. “Any opportunity to play in the NBA, let alone for this franchise, is special. Thank you. Now I’m excited for whatever is next!”
  • Within a round-up of where things stand for the Lakers at the 20-game mark, Jovan Buha of The Athletic says that offseason additions Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant were worth the wait. Both players missed the start of the season due to thumb injuries, but have entered the rotation since returning, with Schröder averaging 8.4 PPG and 3.6 RPG in seven games (25.3 MPG) and Bryant contributing 9.3 PPG and 5.0 RPG in six appearances (14.7 MPG). Bryant’s +9.5 net rating is the best mark on the Lakers’ 15-man roster.