- The Washington Times
Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Washington Wizards quickly addressed their top priority when free agency opened Sunday, re-signing  center Thomas Bryant to a three-year, $25 million deal.

Bryant emerged as a promising young player for Washington last season. The team claimed the 21-year-old off waivers following his release from the Los Angeles Lakers in July 2018 and Washington watched him blossom into its starting center.

Bryant helped offset the loss of Dwight Howard after the 32-year-old missed all but nine games with a back injury. Howard remains on the Wizards roster for now after picking up his $5.6 million player option, but Bryant appears to be their future at the position.

In 72 games, Bryant averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. He was incredibly efficient around the rim — shooting a league-best 68.5% from two-point range. The Wizards value Bryant’s energy, his size and willingness to roll to the rim.

The Wizards could have matched any offer Bryant, a restricted free agent, received, but the two sides reached a deal before that was necessary.

“I feel like I improved in many ways, offensively and defensively,” Bryant said when asked about his season in April. “I feel like I took a step in the right direction in just a lot of things. I can’t really (name) just one key aspect, but I feel like defensively I improved a lot.

“Offensively, just getting those reps out there playing the game and having the game slow down for a little bit. I think it improved a lot for me as well.”

The Wizards still have six other free agents to address, including point guard Tomas Satoransky. The team lost veteran forward Trevor Ariza to the Sacramento Kings after the 34-year-old agreed to a two-year, $25 million deal.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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