NBA Rumors: The Milwaukee Bucks had interest in signing Thomas Bryant

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 28 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 28 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks were reportedly interested in bolstering their center position recently with a solid young big man before he was taken off the free agent market.

As first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Bucks were joined by the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and Utah Jazz as teams interested in Thomas Bryant before he ultimately inked a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night. It is compelling to see Milwaukee listed among the previously interested parties, as Bryant would have been an exciting young addition to their nightly center rotation.

NBA Rumors: Reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks’ prior interest in Thomas Bryant

With Brook Lopez set to have one more year on his contract and Bobby Portis re-signing on a new four-year deal, the Milwaukee Bucks were at a great place with their center depth this offseason. Yet, after what the Bucks went through last season at the center position, with Lopez missing a considerable portion of the year due to a sudden back procedure, the team needed a solid third center to provide depth. In addition to Chris Haynes reporting that they courted Thomas Bryant, it was noted by HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto in a separate report that the Bucks showed interest in free agent Chris Boucher before he re-signed with the Toronto Raptors on a new deal. Between Bryant and Boucher, the Bucks were clearly looking to bulk up their center position this offseason.

Theoretically, Bryant would have been a solid addition to the Bucks. At 24-years-old, Bryant would have given the team some youth, which was a big box on their offseason checklist. Though he has been banged up over the past several years, most notably with a torn ACL, Bryant has showcased glimpses of potential when he has been fortunate enough to take the court with his floor spacing, defense, and scoring ability. All of those attributes would have made him an interesting piece for the Bucks, but it appears that Bryant was looking for a more prominent role than what Milwaukee could have offered. According to Haynes, Bryant will have the chance to compete for the starting center spot in LA, which is not something that would have been on the table in Milwaukee. No one can knock Bryant for wanting to prove himself with a larger opportunity, so signing with LA was a justifiable move on his end.

While they struck out on both Boucher and Byrant, the Bucks managed to strengthen their center position regardless by re-signing Serge Ibaka to a one-year deal. Even though he may not be the Serge Ibaka that he once was, the veteran will still provide some quality insurance at the position off Milwaukee’s bench next season. The 13-year veteran brings experience, toughness, defensive intensity, and familiarity to the roster. Given how much the free agent market was slimming with players coming off the board left and right, Ibaka was likely Milwaukee’s best bet to add another household big man to the center rotation. Not to mention that he decided to return to Milwaukee on a one-year deal that is likely worth the minimum, so keeping him around was also a feasible move from the perspective of the front office.

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Stay tuned to see what other moves the Milwaukee Bucks may make this offseason.