Lakers trade center Thomas Bryant to Nuggets; acquire Mo Bamba from Magic

ESPN logo
Friday, February 10, 2023

The Los Angeles Lakers traded center Thomas Bryant to the Denver Nuggets for Davon Reed and three second-round picks, the teams announced Thursday.

L.A. receives Denver's second-round picks in 2025, 2026 and 2029.

The Lakers will be replacing Bryant with Mo Bamba, whom they acquired in a trade with the Orlando Magic for guard Patrick Beverley,a 2024 second-round pick and cash considerations. The Magic announced in their release on Thursday that Beverley won't be required to report to the team, opening the door to a buyout.

The arrival of Bryant gives the Nuggets another big man to back up two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Bryant averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Lakers this season, shooting 65.4% from the floor.

Bryant, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Lakers last summer after missing most of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons because of a torn ACL.

Receiving three second-round picks also restocks L.A.'s future assets and allows the Lakers to view their Rui Hachimura acquisition last month -- for Kendrick Nunn on an expiring contract and three second-round picks -- as a virtually free addition, team sources told ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

L.A. will look to Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, a fresh face from the three-team Russell Westbrook deal, to receive Bryant's minutes behind Anthony Davis. Bamba, a 24-year-old shot-blocker with the ability to shoot 3s, will also provide more frontcourt depth.

Bryant is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer. The Lakers knew that Bryant had outplayed the minimum contract they could offer him in the offseason, sources told ESPN, with the mini midlevel exception being the only other contract structure available to them to use, being over the cap -- something they intend to save for a player with a more consequential role than Davis' backup.

Reed, 27, earned a Denver roster spot last summer after playing on several 10-day contracts last season. He has played sparingly this season, appearing in just 35 games and averaging nine minutes per contest.

With Jokic averaging a triple-double this season, the Nuggets have risen to the top of the West. But the conference got a whole lot more difficult with Kyrie Irving's arrival in Dallas and the Phoenix Suns trading for Kevin Durant.

Jokic has plenty of help this season, though, with the return of max players Jamal Murray (he missed all of last season as he recovered from a torn ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (sidelined last year by a balky back). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a big addition, along with Bruce Brown. Aaron Gordon is posting big numbers, too.

The Nuggets turned in their highest-scoring game of the season Tuesday when they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 146-112. It was their most points scored since Nov. 17, 2017. Jokic led the way by posting his league-leading 19th triple-double of the season by halftime.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Related Video