The presence of Kent Bazemore was one reason why the Hawks let DeMarre Carroll walk in free agency this past summer, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and over the first half of the season, Bazemore delivered on the team’s faith in him. However, Bazemore has slumped of late, as Vivlamore details. The fourth-year veteran heads into his own free agency July 1st, the same day he turns 27, with projections for next season’s salary varying widely between the mid-level and $12MM. Celtics coach Brad Stevens was the first to call him when he last became a free agent, in 2014, notes Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. That came on the heels of Bazemore’s first significant minutes in the NBA down the stretch of the 2013/14 with the Lakers, who had acquired him via trade from the Warriors at the deadline that season, and he’s grateful for the swap, cognizant that if he was ever to carve out a substantive role for himself in the NBA, he’d have to leave Golden State, Charania writes. See more on Bazemore’s current team amid news from the Southeast Division:
- Bazemore’s slump, Kyle Korver‘s advancing age and the underwhelming impact of trade acquisition Tim Hardaway are among the reasons the Hawks have regressed this season, as Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders examines. Greene also wonders how much the looming specter of Al Horford‘s free agency and the unsettled situation at point guard, where Dennis Schröder‘s performance has pushed Jeff Teague for playing time amid trade rumors involving both, have also played into the team’s decline in play. Atlanta is 31-27 after going 60-22 a year ago.
- The defensive versatility of Josh Richardson, who can guard every position but center, figures to come in handy for the Heat down the stretch this season, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald wrote Monday, and that’s doubly so in the wake of Tuesday’s news that backup point guard Beno Udrih is likely done for the year. A utility role isn’t new for this year’s 40th overall pick. “I was like that in college all four years,” Richardson said, according to Navarro. “It’s not any different now.”
- The Wizards may well have been better served re-signing Trevor Booker in 2014 instead of signing-and-trading for Kris Humphries instead, given the team’s change of styles since then, observes J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. Booker instead signed with the Jazz, while Washington traded Humphries along with DeJuan Blair and a protected first-rounder for Markieff Morris, creating a roster spot that the team is poised to fill with fellow power forward J.J. Hickson.