The 2022 NBA buyout market has moved at a leisurely rate. However, things could quickly begin to ramp up over the next 24 hours as the deadline for players to finalize buyouts with their current team and still maintain playoff eligibility is March 1.
Of course, the majority of buyout candidates aren’t going to single-handedly accelerate a club’s title hopes tenfold. Still, there’s a handful of veteran players that could help add a boost to a playoff roster in a confined role. One of those players is 10-year pro Kent Bazemore. The former undrafted wing has been long rumored to be on the chopping block in Los Angeles, with Jovan Buha and Bill Oram of The Athletic reporting back on February 8 that the Lakers were looking to dump the wing’s contract via a trade/buyout scenario.
As we’re all well aware, Los Angeles stayed put at the trade deadline. Which in return, makes negotiating a buyout with Bazemore all the more realistic — and according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley a likely outcome.
“Assuming teams chalk this up to a sluggish start — he still hasn’t cleared 500 minutes yet — and think a return to form is likely (if not imminent), then he should drum up a decent amount of interest if he makes it to the market,” wrote Buckley, who predict the two parties will negotiate a buyout. “The Lakers, of course, stood pat at the deadline, so they might be even more inclined to subtract someone to gain roster flexibility for other buyout options.”
Celtics Among ‘Best Landing Spots’ for Bazemore
As for where Bazemore may ultimately resurface, if Buckley’s prediction proves true, the B/R columnist named the Boston Celtics among a trio of “best landing spots” for the former Old Dominion standout — the Sixers and Warriors being the two others.
“Bazemore hasn’t fit in Hollywood for whatever reason, but he could hit the ground running elsewhere. That should be incentive enough for him to push for a change, and if the Lakers think his roster spot would be better filled by someone else, they should be agreeable to the idea,” noted Buckley.
Bazemore’s Fit in Boston
Bazemore, 32, has seen his 3-point percentage dip from an outstanding 40.8% last season with the Warriors to 35.8% in 33 games with the Lakers in 2021-22. Still, he’s connected on at least 38.4% of his shots from beyond the arc in two of the past three seasons. His field goal percentage has taken an even larger hit, shooting a career-worst 33.6%. However, one could make the argument that his limited usage and lack of opportunity to get into a groove has negatively affected his conversion rate — his 14.1 minutes per game this year are the fewest for Bazemore since 2013.
The C’s are coming off an upset loss to the Indiana Pacers on February 27 where they shot just 27.9% from three as a team. Over 63 games, only nine NBA teams have shot worse than Boston’s 34.4% 3-point percentage this season. Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka have not been shy in recent weeks in their desire to add/bolster the team’s shooting prowess. An addition of a player with Bazemore’s track record could certainly be a step in the right direction.
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