After missing out on the chance to win a title with the Golden State Warriors, free agent wing Kent Bazemore is headed to a division rival.
Bazemore signed a one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings in what will be his second stint with the Pacific Division team, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Sunday. Bazemore had played with the Warriors during the 2020-21 season and had a chance to return for last year, but instead chose to sign a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers — a decision he would come to publicly regret.
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Bazemore Picks Kings
Bazemore had already played for the Kings once, appearing in 25 games during the 2019-20 season and averaging 10.3 points in 23.1 minutes off the bench. The 33-year-old wing seemed excited to be back, taking to Twitter to announce the move.
“OOOOOOHHHHHHHH BABBBYYYYY! Sacramentooooo! Y’all held me down last time around! Will be a fun ride this season!” he tweeted.
The 33-year-old forward is well traveled. He started his career with the Warriors in the 2012-13 season and had stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers.
The Kings have prioritized defense this offseason, and Bazemore is known as a strong wing defender. Sacramento guard Malik Monk said he hopes the team can be one of the league’s best on the defensive end next season.
“Make it to the playoffs, of course,” Monk said when asked about his goal for the upcoming year. “And make it to the top-10 in defense.”
Monk added that the team’s success next season will depend largely on their defense.
“I think everything else will play out itself because the offense is going to come off the defense and feed off the defense,” Monk said.
Bazemore Regretted Leaving Warriors
Bazemore had a chance to return to the Warriors after the 2020-21 season, but instead chose their divisional rival. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in August 2021 that the Warriors actually offered more money than the Lakers, but Bazemore thought he had a better opportunity in Los Angeles.
“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.
The gamble didn’t pay off in either respect. Bazemore appeared in 39 games for the Lakers last season with 14 starts, averaging 3.4 points in 14.0 minutes per game. And while the Warriors surged back to the top of the NBA and won their fourth title in the last eight seasons, the Lakers fell well short of expectations, going 33-49 and missing the playoffs.
The Warriors instead signed a number of key veterans who helped push the title run, including Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica, and Gary Payton II.
Bazemore later voiced some frustration with his decision to turn down Golden State’s offer. After the Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals, Bazemore took to Twitter to congratulate his former teammates and share his regret about missing out on the run.
“Congrats to my homies……. But I’m sick bruh,” he tweeted.