Kent Bazemore

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Danilo Gallinari, Thunder, 31, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $64.7MM deal in 2017
Gallinari’s biggest issue has been staying out of the trainer’s room. His 68 regular-season appearances with the Clippers last season was his most since the 2012/13 season. But when he’s healthy, he can fill it up. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 41.3 percent from deep. When he gets to the free throw line, he’s money (at least 90 percent since 2016/17). At 31, Gallinari still has a few more good years left and will get a hefty long-term offer next summer.

Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, 29, C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $41MM deal in 2017
Plumlee doesn’t stretch defenses like a majority of big men these days but he does enough to stay on the court. He’s the team’s fourth-leading rebounder despite averaging 16.6 MPG. He’s also adept at finding teammates (2.3 APG). Plumlee’s role figures to diminish if 2018 first-round Michael Porter Jr. starts to make a bigger impact but for now, Plumlee has a steady second-unit role on a contender. However, his annual salary will take a big dip next summer.

Jordan Bell, Timberwolves, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.62MM deal in 2019
The Timberwolves can make Bell a restricted free agent by extending a $2.0MM qualifying offer in June. Thus far, Bell hasn’t done anything to make them want to keep the former Warriors big man around for another season. He’s been glued to the bench through the first month of this season, playing a total of eight minutes since November 4th. Noah Vonleh and Gorgui Dieng are ahead of him in the rotation off the bench, so Bell’s role won’t expand unless injuries strike.

Kent Bazemore, Trail Blazers, 30, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2016
Bazemore was acquired from the Hawks in exchange for another veteran swingman, Evan Turner. The trade has been a lose-lose situation for both teams. Neither has made an impact on their current teams. Bazemore is averaging single digits for the first time since the 2014/15 season despite steady playing time (23.6 MPG). He’s shooting 34.6 percent from the field and his PER is 8.7. That’s not exactly the way Bazemore wanted his walk year to unfold. He’ll be settling for a sizable pay cut next summer.

Jeff Green, Jazz, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
Green is the quintessential journeyman, seemingly popping up on a different team every season. Normally, he puts up solid numbers wherever he lands. That hasn’t the case through the first 14 games this season. Green has been in a shooting slump, making just 33 percent of his attempts. He shot over 47 percent for Cleveland and Washington the past two seasons, so a breakout might be imminent. If not, Green’s rotation spot could be in jeopardy when Ed Davis‘ fractured leg heals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Towns, Blazers, Bazemore, Thunder

For Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves, any barriers that have kept him from leading the team are now removed this year, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes.

Towns, a perennial All-Star who’s averaged 36.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in his first two games of the season, is set to lead Minnesota as the club seeks its second postseason berth in the last 16 years.

“I’m in a spot right now where I got to lead these guys,” Towns said. “I’ve got to lead them. And no matter what I go through in life or whatever I went through, I got to make sure I take those experiences, teach the guys, especially young guys, how to go from boys to men, no pun intended.”

Behind Towns’ strong play, the Timberwolves could wind up contending for a spot in the postseason. Their major concern, however, is the glut of other West teams that are also expected to make concerted efforts for a late seed: Dallas, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Antonio.

There’s more from the Northwest Division tonight:

  • Since the Trail Blazers don’t have a G League affiliate of their own, their two-way players – Moses Brown and Jaylen Hoard – will join the Texas Legends, G League affiliate of the Mavericks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
  • Trail Blazers forward Kent Bazemore is here to disrupt, Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com writes. Bazemore, an accomplished defender who’s spent eight seasons in the NBA, was acquired by the team this past summer in a deal with Atlanta. “It’s good to kind of see the ball go in, but that’ll come,” he said. “Just find your rhythm as you kind of get used to things, get the jitters out. My defense is going to be the constant thing for me regardless of if the shot’s falling for me or not. I just want to find other ways to impact the game. We’ve got two of the best scorers at their position in the league and Hassan down low, Ant Simons did a great job for us off the bench. My job is to go out there and disrupt.”
  • The Thunder’s rivalry with the Warriors has dissolved without the likes of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, contends Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman. Nevertheless, Oklahoma City delivered a crushing defeat to Golden State on Sunday, winning 120-92 at home.

Northwest Notes: Bazemore, Wolves, Nuggets, Ingles

After being traded from the Hawks to the Trail Blazers in the offseason, Kent Bazemore has become rejuvenated, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. As Quick writes, the veteran wing had become frustrated playing in Atlanta last season as the team – which won 60 games during his first year as a Hawk – fully embraced its youth movement.

“The game is changing with the young guys coming in and getting an opportunity right away,” Bazemore said. “It wasn’t like that when I first came in. I’m old school in that respect. All you have to do is be respectful, work your way up. But the league is changing in that respect, and that frustrated me.”

According to Quick, before Bazemore was traded, he provided the Hawks with a list of preferred destinations. The Blazers were number one on that list. Now, his new teammates can see that Bazemore is enjoying the opportunity to get a fresh start in Portland.

“The environment here will light him up,” Rodney Hood said. “And you can already tell with him, coming from Atlanta and not playing competitive basketball, that he wants to taste it again, that he’s hungry, prepared and ready. He was telling me last year he was so frustrated that he got a lot of technicals. But we can all see he’s excited about the season.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Before Kyle Lowry signed an extension with Toronto, the Timberwolves looked into his availability, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. There has been no indication that the Raptors were considering moving their All-Star point guard, so it may have been as simple as an inquiry that went nowhere. Still, as Wolfson points out, it shows that new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas will kick the tires on every potentially available impact player — even those that don’t necessarily fit Minnesota’s timeline.
  • The battle for the Nuggets‘ starting small forward job appears to be down to Will Barton and Torrey Craig, writes Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. Barton, who was more effective in Denver’s final preseason game on Thursday, has said he’d “prefer to start,” as Mike Singer of The Denver Post relays.
  • Joe Ingles may have emerged this preseason as the de facto backup point guard for the Jazz, says Tony Jones of The Athletic. Dante Exum is still making his way back from knee surgery and Emmanuel Mudiay hasn’t shown the ability to consistently run an NBA offense, so Ingles figures to take on some ball-handling responsibilities for the second unit, Jones explains.

Blazers, Hawks Swap Evan Turner, Kent Bazemore

6:07pm: The trade is official, according to a league press release.

2:55pm: The Trail Blazers and Hawks have agreed to a trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the teams are swapping veterans Evan Turner and Kent Bazemore.

Turner and Bazemore signed nearly identical four-year, $70MM contracts during the summer of 2016, so both players will be on expiring deals during the 2019/20 season. Since Bazemore’s contract was a little more backloaded, he’ll be slightly more expensive next season, earning a salary of $19.27MM compared to Turner’s $18.61MM.

For Portland, Bazemore will be a three-and-D piece who could help space the floor around the team’s play-making guards. The veteran swingman struggled in 2018/19, battling some health issues and finishing with just 11.6 PPG on .402/.320/.726 shooting in 67 games (24.5 MPG). However, he has been a more reliable rotation player in the past, having made 36.5% of his three-pointers in his first four years in Atlanta, including 39.4% in 2017/18.

Bazemore should be a good fit on a Trail Blazers roster that could use another three-point marksman on the wing. In the postseason, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Meyers Leonard were fairly reliable from outside, but the only wings making threes for Portland were Seth Curry and Rodney Hood — both players are free agents this summer.

Turner, on the other hand, has never been much of an outside threat, but can be a secondary play-maker, having taken on a good deal of ball-handling responsibilities on the Trail Blazers’ second unit last season. He averaged 6.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.9 APG on .460/.212/.708 shooting in 73 games (22.0 MPG).

The Blazers believe that 2018 first-rounder Anfernee Simons can take on a bigger play-making role off the bench next season, tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic.

With sharpshooter Allen Crabbe arriving in a trade with Brooklyn, Atlanta views Turner’s skill set as more of a fit than Bazemore’s on this year’s roster. The Hawks envision Turner in the backup point guard role and want to open up some minutes for young players like De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter as well, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.

The Blazers and Hawks won’t have to wait until the new league year begins to consummate this deal, since Turner’s and Bazemore’s cap charges are so similar.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hawks’ Kent Bazemore Opts In For 2019/20

8:00pm: Bazemore has officially picked up his option, per RealGM’s transactions log.

1:01pm: Hawks swingman and podcast co-host Kent Bazemore intends to exercise his player option for the 2019/20 season, agent Austin Walton tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Opting in will ensure that Bazemore’s $19,269,662 salary for next season becomes guaranteed.

The 2019/20 season represents the final year of the four-year, $70MM contract Bazemore signed with Atlanta back in July of 2016. While he has been a solid contributor for the Hawks since then, he’s unlikely to ever see that sort of payday again as he prepares to enter his age-30 season.

In 2018/19, Bazemore appeared in 67 games (35 starts) for the Hawks, recording 11.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.3 SPG with a .402/.320/.726 shooting line and solid perimeter defense. It was something of a down year for the former Old Dominion standout, who had been a career 36.0% shooter on three-point attempts entering the season.

Bazemore will look to bounce back next season – in advance of 2020 unrestricted free agency – as a role player on a young Hawks team that features up-and-comers like Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and John Collins. Atlanta is in position to add two more young players to its core this June, as the team ranks fifth in the draft lottery order and also holds Dallas’ top-five protected first-round pick — the Mavs are tied for seventh in the lottery order entering today’s tiebreaker.

The Hawks will still have plenty of cap flexibility this summer, even after taking into account Bazemore’s $19MM+ salary. Outside of Bazemore and Miles Plumlee ($12.5MM), no one on Atlanta’s roster is on the books for more than $6.27MM in 2019/20, per Basketball Insiders.

Despite the fact that the 2018/19 season ended less than 48 hours ago, there have already been four veteran players who have exercised player options for next year or confirmed that they’ll do so. Bazemore joins Marvin Williams (Hornets), C.J. Miles (Grizzlies), and Jeff Teague (Timberwolves) in that group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Wolves, A. Davis, Irving, Conley, More

After making a big splash earlier in the season by sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, the Timberwolves remain active on the trade market, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who reports that GM Scott Layden is “canvassing the league for available deals.” Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News relays a similar sentiment, tweeting that Layden has been “much more communicative” than in past years.

According to Wolfson, players on expiring contracts are available, as are Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng. However, as of Tuesday, there was “zero sense” that anything was close to getting done. Meanwhile, sources tell Krawczynski that multiple teams checked in last month on Andrew Wiggins to see if the Timberwolves might be willing to move him for “pennies on the dollar.” Those inquires qualified more as due diligence though, and didn’t really go anywhere, per Krawczynski.

Here are several more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans still have yet to respond to the Lakers‘ most recent trade offer for Anthony Davis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). L.A. reportedly pulled out of talks on Tuesday after making a big offer on Monday night, though it appears the club would be ready to re-engage if New Orleans makes a counter-offer.
  • While Kyrie Irving‘s comments on his upcoming free agency last week had some league observers wondering if the Celtics would consider moving him at the trade deadline, the team – unsurprisingly – has no intention to do so, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “Boston’s not taking calls on Kyrie,” one general manager said. “That was made pretty clear.”
  • The Grizzlies are believed to be seeking multiple first-round picks in any package for Mike Conley, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz’s final offer to Memphis was a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and expiring contracts (likely Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors). The Grizzlies asked for Dante Exum, but were told no, per Jones (Twitter link via John Martin of 92.9 ESPN).
  • A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls have received “a handful” of calls about Jabari Parker within the last week. Parker is a candidate to be traded, or to be bought out if Chicago can’t find a suitable deal.
  • According to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the Hawks have started to receive more calls on veteran trade candidates Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, and Jeremy Lin. Smith adds (via Twitter) that Knicks forward Noah Vonleh is another trade candidate to watch, as he has generated multiple inquiries.

Hawks Seeking Trades For Future Assets

The Hawks are looking to make deals to acquire future assets with point guard Jeremy Lin and center Dewayne Dedmon the most likely to get traded, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic reports. Atlanta is one of the few clear-cut sellers heading toward next month’s trade deadline and GM Travis Schlenk wants to continue collecting draft picks and opening up cap space.

“We’re looking for future assets,” Schlenk told Kirchner. “We already have five picks in this draft and more than likely, two firsts and three seconds. Any of the deals we do will be future assets or a deal that maybe will increase our (cap) flexibility moving forward. We’re still on the same trajectory.”

Lin has an expiring $13.77MM contract but several contenders are looking for a quality point guard, Kirschner notes. Lin, who is averaging 10.9 PPG and 3.6 APG in 19.9 MPG, has been linked to the Kings, Sixers, Pelicans and Trail Blazers.

Dedmon, who has an expiring $7.2MM contract, has increased his value by adding the 3-point shot to his game. Dedmon is averaging 10.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 24.7 MPG.

Atlanta would also like to move swingman Kent Bazemore and center Miles Plumlee, Kirschner adds. Bazemore is making $18.1MM this season and holds a $19.27MM option for next season. Bazemore is leaning toward opting in and has been shopped for more than a year, according to Kirschner. Bazemore hasn’t played since December 29th due to an ankle injury, which isn’t helping the Hawks’ efforts to move him.

Plumlee has another year left on his contract paying him $12.5MM this season and next. He was playing sparingly before injuring his knee and hasn’t seen the court since New Year’s Eve. Atlanta has talked to Memphis about taking on Chandler Parsons‘ contract with Plumlee being part of the deal. Atlanta would want a future pick from the Grizzlies as an incentive.

Charania’s Latest: Wizards, Hornets, Grizzlies, DSJ

As Shams Charania of The Athletic details in his latest round-up of trade rumors from around the NBA, there still aren’t many clear-cut sellers out there, which may limit activity leading up to the February 7 deadline. However, clubs like the Wizards and Magic still haven’t made any decisions one way or the other and could end up being sellers if they’re trending downward a couple weeks from now, says Charania.

The Wizards have made it “adamantly clear” the Bradley Beal isn’t going anywhere, league sources tell Charania. Otto Porter could be more available though, according to Charania, who hears that the Jazz are among the clubs to show interest in Porter.

The Hornets are another team competing for one of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots and – like the Wizards – have made it clear that they don’t intend to move their star guard. Nonetheless, teams have tested the Hornets on Kemba Walker, says Charania, citing sources who say that the Mavericks recently inquired on Walker and were told Charlotte wants to keep him.

Charania’s article includes many more rumors on the trade market, so let’s round up some of the highlights…

  • Despite indicating they’re willing to listen to inquiries on Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, Grizzlies officials told players on Tuesday that the team remains committed to winning and to tune out any trade noise, writes Charania. Elsewhere on the Memphis front, JaMychal Green is expected to attract significant trade interest and the Grizzlies have attempted to engage the Hawks about a Chandler Parsons deal, Charania reports.
  • Charania adds the Knicks and Lakers to the list of teams that discussed a possible Dennis Smith Jr. trade with the Mavericks. The Magic are also on that list.
  • In addition to discussing deals involving veterans like Kent Bazemore and Dewayne Dedmon, the Hawks may also consider moving younger players such as Taurean Prince and Tyler Dorsey, says Charania.
  • According to Charania, the Thunder plan to explore ways to use their traded player exception, which is worth nearly $11MM. Oklahoma City is reportedly seeking a forward who can shoot, though acquiring a player without sending out any salary would increase the club’s tax bill exponentially.
  • The Sixers are seeking a wing shooter and a center, sources tell Charania.
  • Cavaliers swingman Rodney Hood has emerged as a “targeted” trade asset, according to Charania, who identifies the Pelicans, Thunder, and Bucks as some of the teams that have scoured the market for wing help.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Kings, Divac, Carmelo

The Warriors’ decision on what to do with their open roster spot depends on which teams they view as their biggest threats, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. While GM Bob Myers recently stated that adding another big was a priority, that could change if small-ball teams like Houston, Boston and Toronto are viewed as the primary threats to another championship. It makes more sense for Golden State to obtain another big if Utah, Denver and Oklahoma City are viewed as potential stumbling blocks. A deadline deal is unlikely, so the buyout market is a more likely source for a roster addition, Slater continues. Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon is a name to watch on the buyout market if the Hawks are unable to deal him, Slater adds.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings are in the market for a small forward with more size and a quality backup to point guard De’Aaron Fox, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. The Kings have been linked to Washington’s Otto Porter but the Wizards don’t appear to be in sell mode, Jones continues.  Dallas’ Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore are some of the other wings the Kings could pursue, while Atlanta’s Jeremy Lin would be a good fit at the point.
  • The perception of Kings GM Vlade Divac has changed dramatically for the better over the past two years, Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee points out. Divac was heavily criticized for the DeMarcus Cousins deal with New Orleans but it turned out Sacramento’s favor. The Kings have been one of the league’s surprise teams this season despite a modest payroll. “We’ve made a huge step forward and I’m very happy where we are now,” Divac told Breton. “We need to grow. We need time … (But) we’re not in a hurry. We’re going to go step by step.”
  • Carmelo Anthony would be a poor fit for the Lakers, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Los Angeles has been mentioned as a possible destination if the agreed-upon deal between Houston and Chicago becomes official and the Bulls waive him. Anthony would be competing for limited minutes with Michael Beasley, who is a superior rebounder and more efficient scorer. He might also take minutes away from wing players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart, who are better 3-point shooters and defenders. They’re also more comfortable playing off the ball than Anthony.

Scotto’s Latest: Bazemore, Porter, Holiday, Dieng

Any team that trades for Hawks forward Kent Bazemore should prepare to pay him beyond this season, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Scotto shares a few rumors in a column on New Year’s resolutions for all 30 teams, including a report that Bazemore is leaning toward exercising his $19.27MM player option for next year.

That would represent a modest raise for the 29-year-old, who is making a little more than $18MM this season. Bazemore, who is sidelined with a right ankle sprain that will keep him out for at least two weeks, is one of the most popular names on the trade market, with the Rockets among the teams already expressing interest in acquiring him.

Scotto offers a few more interesting tidbits sprinkled among his advice for 2019:

  • The Mavericks have expressed interest in trading for Wizards forward Otto Porter. Washington faces luxury tax concerns this season and beyond and will owe Porter nearly $56MM over the next two years if he exercises his player option for 2020/21. Porter’s production has declined in his sixth season, and the Wizards may concentrate on fixing their long-term salary structure after John Wall elected to have heel surgery that will sideline him for six to eight months.
  • After losing out on the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes, the Rockets have continued to search for a defensive-minded wing who can hit 3-pointers. Among the players they called about is Justin Holiday, who is averaging 11.8 PPG with the Bulls and ranks eighth in the league in made threes with 96. Holiday has an expiring $4.4MM deal, so he would be a low-cost option for any contender. Houston is also looking for a rim protector to back up Clint Capela.
  • The Timberwolves tried again to find a taker for center Gorgui Dieng, who has become a little-used reserve, playing just 13.7 minutes per night. Minnesota attempted to unload Dieng, who is owed about $33.5MM over the next two seasons, in Butler trade talks but couldn’t find anyone willing to take on that salary.
  • D’Angelo Russell‘s friendship with Suns star Devin Booker may make him an option for Phoenix. Russell is headed for restricted free agency this summer and the Suns need a long-term solution at point guard. The extension the Nets gave to Spencer Dinwiddie could make them reluctant to invest heavily in Russell.