Kent Bazemore took a gamble last summer, and now seems to regret his losing hand.
The wing rejected an offer to re-join the Golden State Warriors, taking a similar deal with the Los Angeles Lakers with the hopes of joining LeBron James and winning an NBA title. Now, with the Warriors returning to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons and the Lakers home for weeks after failing to make the playoffs — or even qualifying for the play-in tournament that expands the field to 11 teams — Bazemore is showing some remorse.
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Bazemore Speaks Out
After the Warriors dispatched the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the Western Conference Finals, Bazemore took to Twitter to offer some congratulations but also show his regret for leaving the team.
“Congrats to my homies……. But I’m sick bruh,” he tweeted.
Bazemore had the chance to return to his role with the Warriors this season, but picked the Lakers instead. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in August that Bazemore actually had a bigger offer from the Warriors for what he thought would be a better situation.
“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,” Charania tweeted.
Both sides of the bet ended up losing. Not only did the Lakers fall well short of expectations, but Bazemore actually ended up with a smaller role in Los Angeles. After averaging 7.2 points in 19.9 minutes per game with the Warriors in 2020, he averaged 3.4 points in 14 minutes per game with the Lakers this year.
The Warriors were able to find a number of key replacements in free agency, filling depth with defensive-minded guard Gary Payton II and do-it-all big man Otto Porter Jr. While this season started with the uncertainty of whether Golden State could bounce back following two straight seasons falling short of the playoffs, and whether Klay Thompson could return to his old form after more than two years away from the court, the Warriors proved that they are still a top team in the NBA.
Another Missed Opportunity for Bazemore
As Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, this is not the first time that Bazemore has missed out on the chance to win a title with the Warriors. The nine-year veteran started his career with the Warriors in the 2012-13 season but was traded to the Lakers midway through the next season. One year later, the Warriors would go on to win the first title of what has become an eight-year dynasty. During that time, Bazemore has made a number of stops — including five seasons for the Atlanta Hawks — but never reached the NBA Finals.
Bazemore could have the chance to return to Golden State this summer with the conclusion of his one-year deal with the Lakers. The Warriors have a number of key players headed to free agency, including both Payton and Porter, and their cap-constrained situation means they may need to look for more affordable options like Bazemore.