The Golden State Warriors have already made some solid moves in free agency, signing Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica to veteran’s minimum contracts. But one of their own free agents — who seemed to be a frontrunner to return — is leaving town.
Wing Kent Bazemore has opted to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Bazemore rejected a more lucrative two-year deal from the Warriors in order to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers.
Bazemore turned down more money and years (two) from the Warriors, sources say, but believes he will have a bigger role and opportunity to win a championship with the Lakers. Bazemore is betting on himself. https://t.co/rw1VyXMN9c— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 3, 2021
Bazemore is likely to have a big role on the Lakers, given the team’s hilarious lack of depth. Los Angeles recently traded the bulk of their quality role players to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Russell Westbrook, giving the team a three-headed monster of Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. It also gave them no money to use outside of veteran’s minimum contracts and the Mid-Level Exception. So Bazemore likely saw an opportunity to play a big role on a team with a championship core.
It’s a hit for the Warriors, who likely hoped to use Bazemore in the starting lineup until Klay Thompson returns. The team still has a few open roster spots, and the full taxpayer Mid-Level Exception though, so there are opportunities to improve the roster elsewhere.
This is Bazemore’s second stint with the Lakers, after the Warriors traded him to LA during the 2013-14 season.