Kent Bazemore

Kent Bazemore To Sign With Lakers

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.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Oladipo, Grant, VanVleet

The Nets have shifted their focus away from a potential James Harden blockbuster and are simply looking to make marginal upgrades to the roster, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Brooklyn might pursue the Hornets’ Nicolas Batum once he clears waivers to give itself another defensive wing. The Nets tried and failed to secure Serge Ibaka‘s services with the $5.7MM taxpayer mid-level exception and also struck out on wing Kent Bazemore, Lewis adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks president Leon Rose isn’t eager to pursue a trade for Pacers guard Victor Oladipo even though GM Scott Perry wants to explore that possibility, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. The front office did make a strong push for free agent forward Jerami Grant, who wound up with the Pistons in a sign-and-trade with Denver. Rose could still make another trade for a rotation player or take on another team’s unwanted contract with an asset attached in order to reach the salary cap floor, Berman adds.
  • Re-signing Fred VanVleet to a four-year, $85MM contract could be considered overpaying but the Raptors have a reputation for rewarding players for a job well done, Eric Koreen of The Athletic opines. While the Raptors may have essentially been bidding against themselves at that price, their reputation of taking care of their own helps in acquiring other players. The contract is also structured so that they can pursue a top-flight free agent next summer.
  • That contract could ultimately prove to be a good value if VanVleet improves in a few areas, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. He needs to get better with his pull-up shooting and finishing at the rim when he takes over lead guard responsibilities, which will happen when Kyle Lowry leaves or shifts to more of an off-guard role. He also needs to get better in pick-and-rolls, Murphy adds.

Free Agency Rumors: Ibaka, Iwundu, Hernangomez, Bazemore

Big man Serge Ibaka was not bereft of contending suitors in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Scotto notes that the Raptors, the team with whom Ibaka spent most of the last four seasons, apparently offered a one-year, $12MM deal to Ibaka for an encore appearance in 2020/21. Toronto was believed to be unwilling to offer multiple years, which would have cut into the team’s projected 2021 cap space.

The Nets also wanted Ibaka, but could only afford a taxpayer mid-level exception, which would have started at $5.7MM this season. Ibaka ultimately inked a two-year, $19MM contract with the Clippers.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Though swingman Wesley Iwundu ultimately opted to sign a two-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Mavericks, the Hawks, Pelicans and Kings were also in the running for Iwundu’s services this offseason, Scotto reports in the same piece.
  • The Mavericks and Kings also considered adding reserve center Willy Hernangomez before he agreed to terms with the Pelicans on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal, per Scotto. Hernangomez’s 2019/20 club, the Hornets, also apparently wanted to re-sign the 26-year-old big man.
  • Scotto reports that former Kings wing Kent Bazemore also found himself in high demand this offseason before agreeing to a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Warriors. The LakersClippersBucksCeltics, Suns, Knicks, Nets, and Hornets were all interested in adding the three-and-D vet this offseason.

Free Agency Rumors: Markieff Morris, Craig, Bazemore, Sixers

A Morris brothers reunion might be in play for the Clippers, Jason Dumas of KRON4 News tweets. Dumas notes that there may be mutual interest in adding free agent forward Markieff Morris – most recently of the Lakers – to a Clippers frontcourt that includes newly re-signed forward Marcus Morris, Markieff’s twin brother. Marcus has agreed to a four-year, $64MM deal to remain with the Clippers.

Markieff’s minutes may be relatively minimal, as he would presumably be the fourth big man in the Clippers’ frontcourt rotation, behind starting power forward Marcus, starting center Ivica Zubac, and just-added veteran power forward/center Serge Ibaka, who will be signed using the club’s full MLE after the departure of Montrezl Harrell to the Lakers. Big man Patrick Patterson was also retained by the Clippers this offseason.

Marcus was a key role-playing piece in the Lakers’ championship run after joining the team off waivers this spring. In 18.4 MPG, Markieff averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG, while shooting a stellar 42% on 3.3 three-point attempts per game and 77.8% from the charity stripe across 21 games en route to the Lakers’ 17th NBA title.

Meanwhile, if Marc Gasol ultimately leaves the Raptors for the Lakers, Toronto has strong interest in replacing him with Markieff Morris, and may be able to offer him more than the Clippers can afford.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Darren Wolfson of KSTP 5 Eyewitness News tweets that the Timberwolves also considered adding free agent guard Torrey Craig to their offseason roster. Craig ultimately agreed to a contract with the Bucks this offseason, the terms of which have yet to be released.
  • Though Kent Bazemore wound up returning to the Warriors and his close friend Stephen Curry on a veteran’s minimum contract, the Clippers apparently considered using their $3.6MM bi-annual exception to sign the veteran swingman, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • Though Sixers GM Daryl Morey has already made significant changes to Philadelphia, the club still needs a great perimeter scorer, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes. “Obviously, our job is to always look for opportunities,” Morey commented this weekend. “But we feel very good about where we are right now.” Pompey notes that in Ben Simmons, the Sixers have the kind of All-Star blue chip piece that could fit well into a deal for Rockets superstar perimeter scorer James Harden.