5 free agent centers the Wizards could target following Thomas Bryant's injury

Mike DePrisco
·3 min read

5 FA centers the Wizards could target following Bryant's injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

With the way he was playing up until his season-ending ACL injury, there is no replacing Thomas Bryant.

The Wizards can vault Robin Lopez into the starting lineup and lean on Moe Wagner as the backup, with Anzejs Pasecniks as the third option at that spot, but there's no way this team can replace Bryant's output unless they execute a trade of some sort. 

The Wizards still need to fill a hole on the roster, though, and in a season already forcing teams to go deep into their bench, depth is important. So here are a few free agents the Wizards could look to sign to support Lopez, Wagner and Pasecniks for the rest of the season. 

Ian Mahinmi

Before Wizards fans cringe and fire this post into the sun, Mahinmi on a minimum contract is much different than Mahinmi at $16 million per year. He's familiar with the Wizards' defensive schemes and assignments, wouldn't demand much of a role over Washington's younger bigs and could even offer some defensive stability as well. 

Per Cleaning the Glass, three of the Wizards' five best defensive lineups last season included Mahinmi at the center spot. He may not offer much of anything on offense, but Mahinmi knows where to be on the other end of the floor. Just don't ask him to switch much. 

In a relatively bleak free-agent market for bigs, Mahinmi would be a familiar face who could fit right in with this current group and provide the depth Washington needs. After him, the Wizards' options grow incredibly scarce. 

Dewayne Dedmon

Dedmon is a decent rebounder and has shown an ability to space the floor and knock down the occasional three. He had a dreadful 2019-20 season after signing a three-year, $40 million deal with the Kings and was later traded to the Hawks. Atlanta then traded him to the Pistons, who then released him. 

Dedmon was productive two years ago, but it's fair to wonder whether he can get back to that level on a Wizards team who's needs don't exactly match his skill set. If the Wizards wanted floor spacing and shaky defense at the five, they might as well just take their lumps with Wagner or Rui Hachimura playing up a position. 

Jordan Bell

The Wizards picked up Bell to play on their G-league team this season and could look to call him up to the active roster if they like what they see. Bell is a versatile defender who can play both big spots and theoretically guard wings on switches.

The only problem for him has been developing any sort of offensive repertoire, but luckily for the Wizards, they have plenty of scoring and not enough resistance on the other end of the floor. 

Tyson Chandler

Chandler may be close to retirement, especially after not landing with a team in free agency this fall. If he's interested in one more season playing in spots and being a veteran voice in the locker room, he and the Wizards could be a good fit. 

Chandler is one of the best defensive bigs of his era, and while he's not the player he used to be at 38 years old, he could still provide some value to a team in a limited role. 

Norvel Pelle

Pelle had a few nice moments for the Sixers last season but fell through the cracks of their major roster shakeup once Daryl Morey took over. He's 27 and doesn't provide much upside, but he has a level of competency and athleticism that isn't exactly easy to find when you're looking for free agent centers 10 games into a regular season. 

Tune in at 6 PM to NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday for complete coverage of the Wizards' next matchup with the Utah Jazz.