Kent Bazemore

Lakers Notes: Davis, Westbrook, Bazemore, Cap

The Lakers are considered to be one of the favorites in the West after trading for Russell Westbrook and adding a collection of veteran talent, but they haven’t looked like contenders so far, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. L.A. dropped to 0-4 in the preseason with Sunday’s 29-point loss to the Suns, and Anthony Davis admitted that having so many new players creates adjustment issues that could linger into the start of the regular season.

“We want to be good, but we don’t want to skip steps. You can’t rush the process of what we’re trying to do and win championships,” he said. “We know, possibly, there could be struggles to start the season. … But we never want to get out to a slow start — 0-5, 0-6, whatever — we still want to be able to fight through our mistakes while winning games.”

The Lakers will get their first look tonight at Davis, Westbrook and LeBron James all on the court at the same time, one week before their season opener. Westbrook has struggled in his new surroundings, shooting 1-for-7 Friday in his debut, then following that with an eight-point, nine-turnover performance against Phoenix, but he’s not concerned.

“I never had one good preseason, I mean personally,” he said. “I never really worry about it because it’s preseason.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers are getting the defensive boost they expected from free agent addition Kent Bazemore, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. At 6’4″, Bazemore brings versatility on defense and regularly matches up in practice with both James and Westbrook. “I really think Baze has separated himself some,” coach Frank Vogel said. “His wingspan and athleticism have been more impressive up close, in that regard.”
  • The Lakers’ 2021/22 roster is the most top-heavy group John Hollinger of The Athletic can remember seeing since Miami put together its initial “big three” in 2010. As Hollinger observes, the Lakers’ three stars will make more than $120MM on their own this season, while nine other players on the roster are on minimum-salary contracts.
  • Within Hollinger’s preview of the Lakers’ season, he also recaps the team’s offseason moves, examines Westbrook’s potential fit, and shares his regular season projection for the club. Hollinger has L.A. finishing with 52 wins, good for third in the West.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Lakers Notes: Centers, Monk, Two-Ways, Brown, Queen

With Anthony Davis expected to see more action at the center spot this season, it remains to be seen how much playing time former All-NBA big men Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan will get at the five for the Lakers. However, as Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times writes, Jordan isn’t overly concerned about how many minutes he’ll play.

“That’s the blessing of it, having a lot of different lineups that you can use. And I think each game is gonna have a say on what we do,” Jordan said on Saturday. “We can be rolling with a huge lineup. And, you know, we’ll win with that. And some games may need us to go small. And I think that at this point of my career, of all of our careers, you know, at the end of the day, ultimately, we just want to be able to win and be able to achieve something as a collective.”

Howard, who played a career-low 17.3 minutes per contest last season in Philadelphia, shares Jordan’s philosophy.

“Leave the ego at the door, leave it at home when you wake up,” Howard said of his role. “There’s no need to have it. We all represent this emblem that’s behind me, this Laker logo. We understand that, and it’s whatever the team needs to win.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Malik Monk‘s impressive preseason debut on Sunday further complicates an already-crowded battle for playing time at shooting guard, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who observes that the Lakers will have to find time at the two for Monk, Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn. Nunn has generally played point guard, but may not see much action there if Russell Westbrook plays big minutes and Rajon Rondo has a regular role, Buha notes.
  • Cameron Oliver, Mac McClung, Chaundee Brown, and Trevelin Queen are the camp invitees currently in the mix for the Lakers’ second two-way contract slot, but the team could end up going outside of the organization to fill that spot, as Buta writes in the same story. “We’re gonna see how the preseason plays out,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “See who all is available, both the guys that are here, or who are around the league, guys that might get cut, and we’ll make a decision closer to opening night.”
  • If the Lakers do convert one of their current camp invitees to a two-way contract, Brown and Queen may be the frontrunners, says Buha. Both of those players are wings, which might be the Lakers’ biggest need.

Pacific Notes: Green, Ariza, Ellington, Booker, Kings Guards

Draymond Green is skeptical that the current Warriors roster can produce championship results, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He doesn’t see how incorporating second-year centers James Wiseman and two first-round rookies into the mix with veterans who have won won multiple championship can deliver another title.

“Historically, we have not seen that work, where you have a mix of old … well, I wouldn’t say any of us are old. … But a mixture of experience and hardly any experience, historically, in just being a fan of the NBA,” he said. “I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen someone have success with that.”

Green, who also spoke of his relationships with coach Steve Kerr and GM Bob Myers, said he won’t urge teammate Andrew Wiggins to get vaccinated, feeling that it’s “none of my business” and “it’s not my place to tell what he should or shouldn’t do” in regard to medical decisions.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Who will start for the Lakers along with the Big Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook? It’s up for grabs and the speculation entering camp was that the two leading candidates would be Trevor Ariza and Kent Bazemore. Ariza still remains the favorite to claim the small forward spot but 3-point shooter Wayne Ellington is the current favorite to be Westbrook’s backcourt partner, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • Suns star guard Devin Booker recently tested positive for COVID-19, but returned to practice on Friday. He confirmed he’s been fully vaccinated and has passed the league protocols, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Coach Monty Williams said it’s unlikely Booker will play in Monday’s preseason opener at Sacramento.
  • The Kings are expected to show a lot of three-guard lineups this season. De’Aaron Fox said it’s up to those players to make it work, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. “We’ve talked about playing three guards and, at the end of the day, what you give up is size, so that comes from rebounding and defense, but we have to buckle down and do that,” Fox said. “If we can’t, then obviously the three of us won’t be able to play together and coach (Luke Walton) is going to have to figure something else out, but we all want to play together.”

Kent Bazemore Signs With Lakers

AUGUST 6: The Lakers have officially signed Bazemore, the team announced today in a press release.


AUGUST 2: Kent Bazemore will remain in the Pacific Division but he isn’t re-signing with the Warriors. Bazemore has agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. It’ll be worth the veteran’s minimum, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Bazemore had a good run this past season in his second stint with Golden State. He appeared in 67 games, including 18 starts, and averaged 7.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 1.6 APG in 19.9 MPG. Bazemore’s 40.8% success rate from 3-point range was a career best.

The Warriors were interested in re-signing Bazemore. In fact, they were willing to give him more money, but he took Los Angeles’ offer because he sees the Lakers as a title contender and was told he’d have a major role, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets.

Instead, Bazemore will join several other free agents — Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza and Dwight Howard — who agreed to contracts with the 2019/20 NBA champions. Bazemore previously played 23 games with the Lakers during the 2013/14 season.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Caruso, Cavs, Trent, Batum, Bradley

The Pelicans are viewed as the most likely of Kyle Lowry‘s prospective suitors to guarantee a third year in their offer to the veteran point guard, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. However, it’s the Heat that are considered the current frontrunners to land Lowry.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms as much in his latest report, suggesting that the Heat are ready and willing to attach assets to Goran Dragic to entice the Raptors to accept a sign-and-trade offer, with Precious Achiuwa and draft picks among the pieces that could be in play. According to Wojnarowski, the Pelicans and Mavericks – rumored to be two of Lowry’s most aggressive suitors – are beginning to consider other options as they look for a starting point guard.

Here are a few more updates on free agents, with the start of the 2021 free agent period less than 24 hours away:

Scotto’s Latest: Oubre, Bazemore, Wiseman, Ball, Spurs

The Warriors have interest in bringing back free agent wings Kelly Oubre and Kent Bazemore, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. However, it sounds like neither player will be as affordable on his next contract as he was on his previous deal.

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast alongside Yossi Gozlan, Scotto said he has gotten the sense from a league source that Oubre and his camp believe they can get a long-term contract worth at least $20MM annually, which may be higher than the Warriors are willing to go. As for Bazemore, Scotto didn’t specify an asking price, but said the goal for the veteran forward is to get a multiyear deal — ideally one that covers three years rather than two.

The Warriors have Oubre’s full Bird rights, but only hold Non-Bird rights on Bazemore, so their ability to offer him a raise on his minimum-salary contract will be limited.

Here’s more from Scotto, including another note on the Warriors:

  • Although the Warriors won’t be actively looking to move James Wiseman, they’d be open to listening to inquiries on the big man if an All-Star caliber player is available, a league source tells Scotto.
  • There’s a belief that Lonzo Ball will be able to get around $20MM per year in restricted free agency, though it’s unclear if the Pelicans are prepared to go that high, says Scotto, adding that rumors of the Bulls’ interest in the former No. 2 overall pick seem to “have some legs.”
  • Re-signing RFAs-to-be Ball and Josh Hart would almost certainly take the Pelicans into luxury tax territory, so Scotto expects Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams to be names that come up in trade rumors this offseason. Bledsoe will earn $18.1MM in 2021/22, while Adams will make $17.1MM.
  • Scotto says he has heard from an executive or two around the NBA that Spurs assistant Will Hardy is viewed as a legit candidate to be Gregg Popovich‘s eventual replacement as San Antonio’s head coach. Hardy received consideration from multiple teams that sought a head coach in 2020.

Pacific Notes: Green, Warriors, Kings, Clippers Fans

After the Warriors were eliminated in the play-in game by Memphis on Friday, Draymond Green said the team has a long way to go to become a title contender again, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “We’re far away. Because in order to win a championship, you got to be in the playoffs,” Green said. “So, we’re clearly a ways away — a few tweaks here and there, and we’re not that far. But right now we’re a ways away because we’re not in the playoffs.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Upgrades to the rotation are imperative for the Warriors, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. They must decide whether to re-sign free agent Kelly Oubre, whose style of play doesn’t mesh well with his current teammates. Re-signing Kent Bazemore to a low-cost deal would be a prudent move, but Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall have tenuous futures with the organization, though Paschall’s contract for next season is guaranteed.
  • The Kings will take an aggressive approach to the off-season, GM Monte McNair told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “We’ll be aggressive whether it’s really (any of) the three avenues — draft, free agency, trade,” McNair said. “We’re going to continue to be aggressive and smart in looking for big or small ways that we can upgrade the team.” However, it could be difficult for the Kings retain unrestricted free agent Richaun Holmes, Anderson notes. Holmes will likely seek upwards of $15MM annually and the Kings will be hard-pressed to pay more than $12MM due to cap issues.
  • The Clippers will have approximately 7,000 fans in the stands for their playoff opener, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That’s the maximum they can sell, per local regulations. The remainder of the seats will be filled with cardboard cutouts.

Warriors’ Bazemore Expected To Miss One Week Due To Protocols

Already missing Damion Lee due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Warriors have now placed swingman Kent Bazemore in those protocols as well, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

According to Slater (Twitter link), Bazemore is expected to be out for the next seven days, which suggests he may have been a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Bazemore confirmed in a tweet that he didn’t test positive for the virus himself.

It’s possible that the person with whom Bazemore had contact was Lee, since his expected absence of 10-14 days suggests he may have tested positive for the coronavirus. In any case, Golden State will have to get by without both players for the next few games, potentially forcing the team to further shorten a rotation that has already been hit hard by injuries.

In addition to being without Bazemore and Lee, the Warriors are, of course, missing Klay Thompson and James Wiseman, who previously suffered season-ending injuries. Eric Paschall is out with a left hip flexor strain, while Juan Toscano-Anderson has missed Golden State’s last two games due to a concussion — he’s listed as questionable for Friday’s game vs. Denver.

If Toscano-Anderson is unavailable tonight, the Warriors would be down to 10 healthy players. The Warriors figure to lean on Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre for big minutes on the wing, while Mychal Mulder could take on an increased role. Players who have been out of the rotation, such as Gary Payton II and Nico Mannion, could also see some action.

Pacific Notes: Schröder, Bjelica, Barnes, Holmes, Bazemore

After being held out of his team’s game against Brooklyn on Thursday due to the league’s health and safety protocols, Lakers point guard Dennis Schröder was not at practice Friday and it’s “uncertain” if he will be available against Miami on Saturday, per head coach Frank Vogel (Twitter link via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). “There’s no timeline,” Vogel said.

The Lakers started Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Wesley Matthews in the backcourt with Schröder sidelined.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Heat continue to have interest in Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson, and they got a good look at him on Thursday. With Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes sidelined, Bjelica made his first start of the season and scored 25 points with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Bjelica is making $7.15MM and the Heat have a $7.6MM trade exception to absorb Bjelica’s contract, Anderson notes. Bjelica has temporarily rejoined the rotation the last four games. “To be honest with you, I work my (butt) off,” Bjelica said. “That’s what everybody’s supposed to do when you’re out of the rotation or you don’t play or you play less.”
  • Barnes sat out with a left foot strain and Holmes missed his second game in a row due to right knee soreness. Kings coach Luke Walton said both players are expected back “very soon,” Anderson notes in the same story.
  • Veteran swingman Kent Bazemore erupted for 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Warriors against Miami on Wednesday. He’s become a valuable option for coach Steve Kerr, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic notes. “He’s frenetic out there and plays with great energy,” Kerr said. “He’s kind of all over the map. He has his moments where he makes plays where he gets out of control but also makes really athletic, powerful moves to the rim, with steals, and fast-break layups, dunks.” Bazemore joined the Warriors on a veteran’s minimum contract in November and will return to free agency this summer.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Bazemore, Oubre, Mulder

The Warriors‘ hopes to get back into title contention start with Stephen Curry, and coach Steve Kerr was thrilled to see the former MVP back on the court Saturday night, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Curry is fully recovered from the broken left hand that limited him to five games last season. He shot just 3-of-10 from the field, but having him back in the lineup was a big deal for Kerr.

“It’s always just great to see him out on the floor,” Kerr said. “And I think he looks really good physically, that’s the main thing. He worked so hard in the offseason and he’s in great shape. And now it’s just a matter of getting his timing and his rhythm down, but he’s definitely a sight for sore eyes.”

Curry is surrounded by a much different roster than during the five-year stretch when Golden State was on top of the league. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre are major additions over the past year, and the team will eventually incorporate rookie center James Wiseman, who isn’t expected to play during the preseason.

“There’s nobody like him in the NBA,” Kerr said of Curry. “Nobody who can play on and off the ball at that level and who creates that kind of havoc. And so I think with most players who come in, they’re not used to the second half of the possession. They’re sort of used to whatever the pattern is in the beginning. But as soon as maybe Steph gives up the ball, that’s when the action really starts the way we play. And that’s the tricky part for guys to figure out.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Golden State projects to have a much better bench than it did a year ago, when the team’s reserve unit was among the NBA’s worst, observes Anthony Slater of the Athletic. The addition of Kent Bazemore and Brad Wanamaker have made the Warriors a deeper team, and Eric Paschall will join them once Draymond Green returns to the starting lineup. Bazemore provides a veteran presence and the versatility to contribute in multiple ways. “Baze is kind of a wild card,” Kerr said. “He can make three or four plays in a row — a bucket, a steal, knock down a 3. He’s a streaky player.”
  • The trade for Oubre gives the Warriors a top defender who can take over Klay Thompson‘s responsibilities on the perimeter, Slater notes in the same piece. Kerr said he believes Golden State can become an excellent defensive team once Green and Wiseman return.
  • Mychal Mulder is in camp on a non-guaranteed contract, but his long-distance shooting may help him win a roster spot, Slater adds. He hit three important three-pointers in the fourth quarter Saturday to help the Warriors claim a close victory.