Celtics Miss Out on Free Agent Center Due to One Key Factor: Report

Thomas Bryant of the Washington Wizards, who hinted at joining the Boston Celtics.

Getty Thomas Bryant of the Washington Wizards, who hinted at joining the Boston Celtics.

After the Boston Celtics traded Daniel Theis in their deal to acquire Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers, their next move was to find Theis’ replacement. One such option was Thomas Bryant. On July 1, 2022, Chris Haynes reported that the Celtics were interested in Bryant, but so were the Los Angeles Lakers. On July 6, Haynes reported that Bryant had chosen the Lakers while also including the reason why he chose them: for the opportunity to be their starting center.

Had Bryant gone to the Celtics, he would not have had that opportunity as their starting center is slated to be Robert Williams III when the 2022-23 season begins. If Bryant were to win the job as the Lakers’ starting center, he could potentially build his value towards getting a larger contract when the 2023 NBA Offseason starts.

Bryant started his career off with the Lakers in the 2017-18 season before the team waived him that summer. He has since spent the last four seasons with the Washington Wizards.

Haynes reported that the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, and Utah Jazz were also courting Bryant.


There Was Speculation That Bryant Picked Boston

Before Haynes had reported that Bryant had signed with the Lakers, there had been some possible hints that Bryant may have chosen the Celtics ahead of time.

On July 4, Bryant liked a tweet that responded to a skeptical Celtics fan who asked why some thought Bryant could help the Celtics win a championship. The responder answered with two words: “You’ll see.”

After Bryant liked the reply, many thought it indicated that Bryant may have signaled that he had already picked the Celtics.

That wasn’t the only time Twitter went into a frenzy over a possible Bryant-related hint. On July 2, there had been speculation that Bryant had been spotted at the Logan airport.

Much like the tweet that Bryant liked, this caused many to speculate that his alleged trip to Boston indicated that he was signing with Boston.

Regardless of why he liked that tweet or whether he was at Logan airport or not that day, it’s all irrelevant in the end because Bryant did not choose the Celtics. Now, all that remains is where the Celtics go from here.


Boston’s Remaining Options

With Bryant no longer a viable option for the Celtics, they will have to look at other frontcourt options. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported that, following Bryant’s decision, Boston is still on the lookout for frontcourt depth because of Robert Williams III’s injury history.

As far as who that could be, the remaining options available in unrestricted free agency as possible Theis replacements include:

-Dwight Howard
-Hassan Whiteside
-DeMarcus Cousins
-Montrezl Harell
-LaMarcus Aldridge
-Tristan Thompson
-Markieff Morris
-Blake Griffin

The Celtics could also use the Evan Fournier trade exception to acquire a Theis replacement. They would have until July 18 to acquire a contract that is worth $17.1 million or less. However, the Celtics will have a pretty large luxury tax bill to pay as it is, and reports have said that after thoroughly exploring the market, they’re not likely to use it.

If Boston wants a replacement lined up in case Williams gets hurt again, they may have to take a closer look to see who out there could fill the void left by Daniel Theis.

Because they just lost a good option in Thomas Bryant.

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