The Washington Wizards have three centers on their roster who are worthy of significant minutes: Daniel Gafford, Montrezl Harrell and Thomas Bryant. Of the three, Bryant has missed most of the 2021-22 NBA season due to an ACL injury he suffered last season where he began the season as the starting center. Bryant is also on the last year of his current contract which puts him at a pivotal moment in his playing career.
I recently had the chance to speak with Todd Ramasar, who is Bryant’s agent in two conversations over the past month. Ramasar is the CEO of Life Sports Agency, which serves multiple players, including NBA All-Stars like Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and other players like Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney. Our conversation also gave me a deeper look into what players like Bryant and others are looking for as they progress in their professional careers.
At the time of our most recent conversation last week, Bryant played four games for Washington including a 15 point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 17. Ramasar was pleased with Bryant’s return.
“Thomas is doing well and we’re pleased with his progress,” Ramasar said. “He is on a minutes restriction, trying to contribute the best he can with the minutes he’s given. And he’s just being patient as his minutes increase, given his load management.”
Since our last conversation, Bryant has played three games and had two back-to-back double-figure scoring performances against the Boston Celtics last Sunday and the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday. He is averaging 7.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while also averaging 14.3 minutes per game in seven total appearances.
While Bryant is back on the court, that also puts the Wizards’ center rotation in a logjam. But for now, the most important part is to keep Bryant healthy now that he is back and let the Wizards front office make any moves they feel are necessary from here.
“Prior to his injury, Thomas was a starter and had done well. Now that he is back healthy, it’s up to the Wizards’ management and coaching staff to figure out minutes between all three players based on their strengths. So I don’t think there’s anything beyond that,” Ramasar said.
Bryant is on the last year of a three-year, $25 million contract. Naturally, he is going to look for another contract after this season, whether with the Wizards or another team. That said, as mentioned before, the Wizards have other rotation-quality centers on the roster. Harrell is also a free agent after this season, while Gafford signed a three-year, $40.2 million extension last October, with the first year of that extension kicking in the 2023-24 season.
What does Ramasar have to say regarding Bryant’s future goals with his next contract and career? And does he want to stay with the Wizards? And yes, I asked Ramasar that question directly.
“It’s premature to answer that question specifically,” Ramasar replied. “Like anyone else, it’s no secret that one’s priorities are largely financial. We have to look at what the best situation is for a player, not just in terms of compensating him fairly and equitably, but we want him to be in a situation where he’s part of a team and culture where he can actively help that team win.
For Thomas’ situation specifically, your question is also premature because he just came back from a knee injury. If he wasn’t injured, Thomas would have had half a season under his belt this season and we would have a specific trajectory based on our goals.
Right now, the focus is for him to improve day by day, practice by practice, and game by game. Get back into the form he was in before his injury and exceed it. If Thomas can do that, the rest will take care of itself. The Wizards’ front office and Tommy Sheppard have made it clear that they view Thomas very positively. So if things work out, his production will take care of this situation at the end of the day.”
Ramasar also gave us an update on one of his other clients, Marcin Gortat
The NBA world is small. And Ramasar has represented other notable Wizards players before, including Marcin Gortat. I also asked him how the Polish Machine is doing in his post-playing career.
“Marcin is doing very well. He is living in both the USA and Poland. In Poland specifically, Marcin is heavily involved in Poland with commercial opportunities as well as here in America. As you know, he is very proud of his Polish heritage. He’s hosting the latest edition of his annual Polish Heritage Night in Los Angeles later this March.”
“Marcin is still one of the biggest athletes in Poland, where he is much more famous than in America,” Ramasar continued. “He is synonymous with basketball because of his long NBA career. While he is a basketball ambassador of course, Marcin is also known for his continued involvement in politics and the military which continues today.” While he was still playing, Gortat received honors from Polish President Andrzej Duda, and also hosted numerous activities with Polish and NATO troops.
Thanks again to Todd for taking time out of his day to give us a check-in on both Thomas and Marcin.