Kent Bazemore

Kings Officially Sign Kent Bazemore, Quinn Cook

The Kings have officially signed free agent swingman Kent Bazemore and guard Quinn Cook, the team confirmed today in a press release. Bazemore’s one-year agreement with Sacramento was first reported on August 7, while Cook’s one-year deal was reported a day later.

Bazemore, 33, has enjoyed a solid 10-year career as a three-and-D wing, though he had a disappointing year in Los Angeles in 2021/22, shooting a career-low 32.4% from the field and falling out of the Lakers’ rotation early in the season.

Cook, meanwhile, is a five-year NBA veteran who won titles with the Warriors and Lakers as a reserve. He has averaged 6.4 PPG and 1.6 APG in 188 career appearances (14.1 MPG) for five teams, but didn’t play in the league last season after being waived by Portland prior to opening night.

The exact terms of Bazemore’s and Cook’s deals aren’t yet known, but the Kings have been signing a series of veterans to non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts this offseason and will likely have multiple roster spots up for grabs in training camp and the preseason.

Sacramento now has a full 20-man offseason roster, including 12 players on guaranteed contracts and a pair on two-way deals. Bazemore and Cook are among a group of six players expected to vie for spots on the 15-man regular season roster — Matthew Dellavedova, KZ Okpala, Sam Merrill, and Chima Moneke are also in that mix.

Kings Signing Kent Bazemore To One-Year Deal

The Kings have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent swingman Kent Bazemore, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether the deal is guaranteed, but Bazemore is set to join Sacramento for the second time in his career.

Bazemore most recently played for the Lakers, appearing in just 39 games last season. He averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per contest, shooting 32% from the floor and 36% from deep.

Before that, the 33-year-old played for the Warriors, Hawks, Blazers and Kings. Along with the Kings, Bazemore holds two separate stints with the Warriors (2012-14 and 2020-21), plus the Lakers (2013-14 and 2021-22). He owns career averages of 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

The Kings currently have just 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so even if Bazemore’s deal isn’t guaranteed, he should have an opportunity to compete for one of the final spots on the team’s 15-man regular season roster.

Sacramento is coming off a 30-52 season, having missed the playoffs for an NBA-record 16th straight year. The team has a core of De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis and others that likely won’t finish drastically better than it did last season.

Pacific Notes: Murray, Suns, Christie, Bazemore

Keegan Murray is bringing hope to Kings fans after an MVP performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. The No. 4 overall pick displayed an advanced offensive array while averaging 23.3 points per game and shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three-point range.

Many draft observers criticized the Kings for passing on Jaden Ivey to select Murray, but he’s a better fit with the current roster and is showing signs that he’ll be able to contribute right away. An unidentified personnel executive told Bulpett that Murray was the second most impressive player in Summer League behind Paolo Banchero.

“I don’t think people knew how well he could shoot the ball,” the executive said of Murray. “He’s a tremendous shooter. That still has to translate to the real games, but I think he opened some people’s eyes. The Kings could be really interesting if (new head coach) Mike (Brown) can get those guys to realize what they can do. It’s been a long time since Sacramento was any good, and these guys obviously weren’t there for all of it, but sometimes it can be hard for a team to take that first big step.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns seem committed to being a taxpaying team after matching the Pacers’ offer sheet for Deandre Ayton, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines whether the roster is good enough to justify that investment. Phoenix currently has $167.1MM in guaranteed salary, well above the projected $150.267MM tax threshold, and is facing a projected $34.8MM tax bill.
  • The Lakers have been watching Max Christie since 2019 and he was the top prospect on their draft board by far when it was time for their pick at No. 35, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Just him showing flashes of being a good perimeter shooter with his shooting mechanics and being able to create his own shot off the dribble,” said assistant general manager and co-owner Jesse Buss. “A high-IQ player, obviously, with his size and his length, at the two guard position.”
  • Free agent Kent Bazemore posted an online photo of his workouts with former Warriors teammate Stephen Curry (hat tip to Joey Linn of Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation). Bazemore, who left Golden State to sign with the Lakers last summer, is waiting for an offer for next season.

Warriors Notes: Green, Curry, Moody, Bazemore

The Warriors are headed to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons, and while this year’s accomplishments are impressive, Draymond Green insists that the team’s place in history was already secure, writes Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area. Speaking on his latest podcast, Green said everything the Warriors accomplished last decade speaks for itself.

“But by no means does this stamp the dynasty, but no means does this stamp Steph Curry or Klay Thompson or myself or whoever,” Green said. “We been doing this and yes, it’s great to be back in this position. I know people be needing things to talk about but this doesn’t decide or like all of a sudden now people are like ‘Oh ya, this is a dynasty.’ No. Stop it. Been a dynasty.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Curry’s three-point shooting has dipped slightly since the playoffs began, but he’s at the height of his career in play-making and defense, contends Jackson Frank of Basketball News. In the postseason, opponents are shooting just 57-of-152 (37.5%) from the field with Curry as the primary defender. He’s also staying out of foul trouble, reaching three fouls in a game only once.
  • Matt Issa of Basketball News examines the contributions of Moses Moody, the only rookie who played a significant role in either conference finals. Moody’s versatility on defense and his ability to finish plays have made him an important contributor off the Warriors’ bench.
  • Golden State won’t find out its Finals opponent until Sunday night, but Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News sees a clear advantage in facing the Heat instead of the Celtics. He argues that Boston’s defense is scarier than anything Miami can offer, especially with so many players battling injuries.
  • Kent Bazemore expressed regret this week about leaving the Warriors last offseason to sign with the Lakers. Golden State offered a two-year deal and a larger salary, but Bazemore believed he would have a larger role and a better chance to win a ring with L.A. After the Warriors clinched a spot in the Finals on Thursday, Bazemore tweeted, “Congrats to my homies ……. But I’m sick bruh.”

Pacific Notes: Paul, Booker, Bazemore, Iguodala

As a Hall-of-Fame point guard, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd understands the challenge that Chris Paul presents, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Paul, who will turn 37 this week, is coming off one of the best playoff games of his career, making all 14 of his shots from the field and scoring 33 points Thursday as the Suns closed out the Pelicans.

“He’s perfected the point guard position,” Kidd said. “As you get more reps and you see different defenses, you start to understand what you have to do, and he knows how to move the pieces to get that advantage. When you talk about IQ, it’s off the charts and his competitiveness is off the charts and his will is off the charts. All the things that are off the charts, you’ve just got to make it tough on him.”

Dallas will counter with All-Star point guard Luka Doncic, who was also dominant in the first round after returning from a strained calf. Doncic indicated that the Mavs will try to be physical with Paul, but there’s no set way to contain him.

“It’s hard to slow him down,” Doncic said. “Like you saw in the last game, he didn’t miss. That was pretty crazy.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns were fined $25K for not disclosing Devin Booker‘s status for Game 6 against New Orleans in “an accurate and timely manner,” according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Booker missed three games in the series with a strained right hamstring before returning on Thursday.
  • In an interview with TMZ Sports, Lakers swingman Kent Bazemore defended LeBron James against his critics and said he would like to re-sign with the team in free agency. Bazemore only played 39 games after signing with L.A. last summer, but he said there’s something special about playing for the team. “What I’ll say is nothing ain’t much better than being a Laker, right?” Bazemore said. “So, getting to see (Kobe Bryant‘s) numbers on the wall every day I went to practice was good inspiration for me. … There’s nothing like it, man. It’s a storied franchise.”
  • Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has been ruled out of the first two games of the team’s second-round series vs. Memphis, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Iguodala is dealing with a cervical disc injury in his neck.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Klutch, Carmelo, Offseason

The Lakers‘ front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group for last summer’s acquisition of Russell Westbrook, multiple sources tell Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As has been reported by several outlets since last August, Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a part in recruiting Westbrook, helping convince the Lakers to go after the former MVP instead of trying to sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan or acquire Buddy Hield from Sacramento.

Still, while James, Davis, and their agency may have had a hand in the Westbrook trade, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office ultimately had the final say. Pincus, who suggests that assigning the blame to Klutch Sports “may be an epic level of passing the buck,” writes that NBA front offices should consider their stars’ input but that the top basketball executives are responsible for making the decisions they feel are best for the team.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Bazemore, Craig, Biyombo

Magic Johnson stepped down from his post as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations in 2019 but team owner Jeanie Buss still leans on the Hall-of-Famer for advice, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. “To me, he’s still working with us,” Buss said. “In terms of an official capacity, in the NBA, you have to be very clear as to who can negotiate on your behalf and who can’t. So he doesn’t have that official designation. But in terms of his support, his wisdom, his insight, I freely call on him as needed.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kent Bazemore hasn’t been part of the Lakers rotation since mid-November and hasn’t played since February 3. However, he’s not sulking over his lack of playing time, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Some nights, it gets hard having to hold back that competitive nature. Especially if a guy gets going, I know defensively, I made a living off of taking guys out of the game, shutting off the water, so to speak. That gets the best of me sometimes,” Bazemore said. “But that’s just the competitor in me. … I’m doing what I love. I don’t mind putting in the work for it, even though I’m out of the rotation.”
  • The Suns wanted to bring back Torrey Craig during the offseason but prioritized signing JaVale McGee with their mid-level exception, John Gambadoro of of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. Craig found a two-year deal with Indiana before the contract with McGee was finalized. Craig was traded back to Phoenix last week. The Suns still have a portion of the mid-level available to use on the buyout market, Gambadoro adds.
  • Craig said the trade back to the Suns was a deadline-day surprise to him, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “It just happened so fast,” Craig said. “I was literally practicing in Indiana and then I noticed it was an hour before the trade deadline. Came to my phone and I had a couple of missed calls from my agent. And then he called me and told me (the) situation and I was like, wow. It had just happened. It was a quick turnaround. I packed and I came here. I’m excited to be back.”  
  • Bismack Biyombo told his agent, former NBA player B.J. Armstrong, that he only wanted to sign with a title contender in free agency, Marc Spears of The Undefeated reports. “That was the hardest part,” Biyombo said. “I talked to my agent and I said, ‘Look, the only way I will do it is for a contender. Otherwise, I’m not doing it.’ Biyombo remained unsigned until a 10-day with Phoenix under the hardship exception. He later signed a rest-of-the-season deal with the Suns last month.

Western Trade Rumors: Covington, Nurkic, Beverley, Culver, Lakers

Of the veteran Trail Blazers who are candidates to be traded by the February 10 deadline, Robert Covington has been described as the most likely one to be moved, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Ben McLemore‘s name has also emerged in recent trade discussions, Fischer adds.

Conversely, there doesn’t seem to be any momentum toward a trade involving Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, according to Fischer. Marc Stein said something similar in a recent Spotify Greenroom session, suggesting he hasn’t heard Nurkic’s name mentioned much in his recent conversations with teams. Stein gets the sense there’s not a “huge amount” of interest in the veteran center (hat tip to HoopsHype).

Nurkic himself recently told Jason Quick of The Athletic that he doesn’t think he’ll be traded this season. If the latest reports from Fischer and Stein are accurate, he may be right.

Here are a few more items from around the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves are exploring some possible trade avenues involving Patrick Beverley ahead of his upcoming free agency, Fischer reports. Responding to that report, Minnesota-based reporters Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links) said that head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta is casting a wide net and is willing to discuss anyone besides Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. However, neither Wolfson nor Krawczynski expects Beverley to be traded.
  • The Grizzlies aren’t considered likely to make any major moves at the trade deadline, but they may receive inquiries on fourth-year swingman Jarrett Culver, Fischer writes. There’s so much leaguewide interest in wings who can play defense that Culver – who isn’t currently part of Memphis’ rotation and will be a free agent this summer – could appeal to another team, Fischer explains.
  • The Lakers, who continue to shop veteran wing Kent Bazemore, have been mentioned as a potential suitor for big man Paul Millsap if he reaches the buyout market, says Fischer. Brooklyn is still looking to trade Millsap.

Lakers Notes: Trent, Jordan, Bazemore, Monk, Westbrook

As part of their due diligence exploring the trade market, the Lakers have expressed interest in Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr., league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The Lakers could theoretically put together an offer for Trent, who is earning $16MM, using Talen Horton-Tucker as the primary salary-matching piece. However, there has been no indication that the Raptors want to move on from the former Duke standout, who is one of Toronto’s most-used players (32 starts, 34.0 MPG), most reliable three-point shooters (.368 3PT%), and most active defenders (1.9 steals and 3.5 deflections per game).

Scotto acknowledges that a deal between the two teams appears unlikely for the time being.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Scotto also confirmed on the latest HoopsHype Podcast that the Lakers have made DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore available, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported last week. According to Scotto, the Lakers aren’t interested in attaching a draft pick to move either player, so they’d likely need to use cash to grease the wheels if teams aren’t interested in Jordan or Bazemore on their own. Los Angeles can still trade up to $4,435,000 in cash during the 2021/22 league year.
  • Malik Monk has been a bright spot for an up-and-down Lakers team recently, averaging 20.0 PPG on .523/.475/.900 shooting in his last eight games. However, the better he plays, the more challenging it will be for L.A. to bring him back. As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report outlines, unless they dip into their mid-level exception, the Lakers will be limited to offering Monk a Non-Bird raise of just 20% more than his minimum salary when he hits free agency.
  • Like teammate Carmelo Anthony has done in recent years, Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook has been asked to accept a lower-usage role this season and is still adjusting to it, writes Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group. Westbrook’s 27.9% usage rate would be high for most players, but it’s the first time since 2009/10 that he’s registered a number below 30%.

Lakers Trying To Trade DeAndre Jordan, Kent Bazemore

After opening one roster spot this week by trading Rajon Rondo to Cleveland, the Lakers are hoping to make similar moves involving DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Wednesday on “NBA Today” (Twitter link).

L.A. wouldn’t be looking for players in return, Windhorst adds, as the team wants to create roster flexibility to add talent on the buyout market. Stanley Johnson, who received a 10-day contract earlier today, is expected to fill the slot vacated by Rondo.

Jordan has started 18 games this season, but he recently fell out of the rotation and hasn’t been used in the team’s last six games. He signed with the Lakers in September after reaching a buyout with the Pistons following a trade from the Nets. His $2,641,691 salary ($1,669,178 cap hit) is fully guaranteed and the team would prefer to trade him rather than waive him because of luxury tax concerns.

The Lakers have begun using a smaller, more versatile lineup with LeBron James starting at center. With Anthony Davis possibly returning later this month from an MCL sprain, there’s not much of a future for Jordan in L.A. The 33-year-old is averaging 4.5 points and 5.7 rebounds this season while shooting 67.5% from the field.

The Lakers have also explored the trade market for Bazemore, according to Windhorst. The 32-year-old forward started 14 games earlier in the season, but has also been pulled from the rotation and has made just one six-minute appearance since December 17. Bazemore started 14 of the 22 games he has played and averages 4.3 PPG and 1.8 RPG.