Big money for a talented player who can still improve
The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed guard Kent Bazemore, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. The deal is reportedly a $70 million dollar contract over four years.
Bazemore, 27, set single-season career highs nearly every statistical category last year, his second in Atlanta, after averaging 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 27.8 minutes (.441 FG%, .357 3FG%, .815 FT%) in 75 games (68 starting assignments). He ranked second on the club in steals per game and free throw percentage, and third in rebounds per game and three-pointers made (109). The four-year veteran scored in double-figures 41 times, including 11 20-point outings, and posted his first career double-double (at Detroit on Mar. 16).
“We are excited to re-sign Kent and welcome him back to the Hawks,” Budenholzer said. “His passion for the game is contagious and through his tireless work ethic, he has developed into a dynamic two-way player. We look forward to his continued development with us.”
The 6’5 guard originally signed with the Hawks as free agent on Sept. 23, 2014 after spending parts of his first two years with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. In his first season in an Atlanta uniform (2014-15) he posted 5.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17.6 minutes in 75 games (10 starts).
Bazemore owns career averages of 6.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 16.5 minutes, seeing action in 278 games (93 starts).
Small forward Kent Bazemore averaged 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 27.8 minutes per game for the Hawks this regular season. He started 68 of the 75 games he played in. Will Bazemore remain on the squad? Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:
In 2013, the Hawks signed [DeMarre] Carroll to a $5 million contract. He started at small forward for two seasons before leaving last summer to play for the Raptors on a four-year, $60 million deal.
In 2014, the Hawks signed [Kent] Bazemore to a $4 million contract. He replaced Carroll in the starting lineup this season. Now, he enters unrestricted free agency.
According to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, players who sign contracts for less than four years are not eligible for extensions. They must enter free agency at the conclusion of their deal. Last summer, Paul Millsap and Carroll both were unrestricted. Millsap returned and Carroll left.
“I would love to return here,” Bazemore said this week during an exit interview following the Hawks’ playoff loss to the Cavaliers. “I think the past two years I’ve taken a tremendous leap. Not only my professional year but personally. I’m growing more into myself and figuring out life. This place as a special place in my heart. I grew up right up the street in North Carolina. Super close to home. Not close enough. Has its perks here. The weather is great. Golf is great. God is great.”
Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, who are 20-12, which is the second best record in the Eastern conference:
Kent Bazemore downplays his move back into the Hawks starting lineup.
However, the team’s record is hard to ignore.
The Hawks are 15-5 with Bazemore in the starting lineup, including their current six-game win streak. The run began one game after he was re-inserted on Dec. 14 in a home loss to the Heat even as Bazemore scored a season-high 28 points. The Hawks are 13-4 when Bazemore starts at small forward with the regular unit.
“Everything is starting to come together,” Bazemore said Saturday before the Hawks’ 117-98 win over the Knicks.