Full new contract terms for Thomas Bryant's return to Miami Heat revealed

Thomas Bryant will return to the Miami Heat on a new, one-year deal that will save the team money against the cap.
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Play-In Tournament
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Play-In Tournament / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Miami Heat are bringing back Thomas Bryant, clarifying the team’s direction at center.

Bryant will sign a one-year, veteran minimum contract to return to the Heat, according to reports. Bryant previously opted out of a $2.8 million salary for the upcoming season but will return at a similar amount.

Bryant's decision creates about $700,000 in cap space. If Bryant would have picked up his player option, his salary would have counted as the full $2.8 million against the salary cap and luxury tax. But because Bryant became a free agent and then returned on a new veteran-minimum contract, his cap hit is reduced to $2.1 million, per NBA rules.

The Heat signed Bryant last summer and were excited about his size, rebounding and 3-point shooting (career 35.5%), but the 26-year-old center played in only 38 games last season and posted averages of 5.7 points and 3.7 assists. He also made just four 3-pointers the entire season.

Bryant fell out of the rotation, losing playing time to Kevin Love and Orlando Robinson. Love emerged as a steady backup behind Bam Adebayo, while Bryant and Robinson took turns as Miami’s third center. 

By the end of the season, Bryant had regained the available minutes as the team’s third center over Robinson. 

With Bryant back, the Heat will likely waive Robinson before his contract becomes guaranteed on July 15. 

The Heat added to the center position when they selected Kel’el Ware with the 15th pick in the draft. Ware, a 7-footer with shooting chops and shot-blocking upside, will get a chance to earn a spot in the rotation. The Heat also re-signed Love on a two-year deal. That puts Bryant in a similar position as last season, with minutes far from guaranteed.