Ex-Lakers Starting Guard From Last Season Signs With Rival

kent bazemore

Getty Kent Bazemore & Russell Westbrook defending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Los Angeles Lakers roster overhaul from last season continues. The team has yet to re-sign any of their free agents from last year’s roster, and that likely won’t change. The Lakers were one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history last season so they needed to reboot the team completely. Some key pieces are returning but many role players will be different.

Kent Bazemore was an opening day starter for the Lakers last season but quickly fell out of the rotation. He lasted 13 games in the starting lineup before the team pulled him out. He barely had a role after that. Los Angeles wasn’t planning to bring him back but he’s found a new home. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Bazemore has signed a one-year contract with the Sacramento Kings.

Bazemore will join Malik Monk as another Laker from last year to move several hours North. The Kings make sense for the veteran guard as new head coach Mike Brown coached him two seasons ago with the Golden State Warriors. There’s plenty of familiarity there and Bazemore should be a veteran that Brown can lean on.

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Bazemore Wanted to Stay With Lakers

When Bazemore signed with the Lakers last offseason, he declined a better offer to return to the Warriors. Golden State ended up winning a championship while Los Angeles didn’t even sniff the playoffs. Despite all of that, the guard was interested in returning to the Lakers.

“What I’ll say is nothing ain’t much better than being a Laker, right?” Bazemore told TMZ Sports in May. “So, getting to see Kob numbers on the wall every day I went to practice was good inspiration for me. … There’s nothing like it, man.”

Clearly, the Lakers didn’t feel the same way as they prioritized getting younger this offseason. The Kings aren’t as glamourous as playing for the Lakers or Warriors but there should be a bigger opportunity for Bazemore to carve out a role in Sacramento.

Lakers Still Have Moves to Make?

The Lakers were busy to start free agency but have slowed down significantly in recent weeks. most of the top free agents are gone so it remains to be seen how they plan to improve the roster. As of right now, the roster isn’t good enough to seriously compete for a championship. They’ll need to make a trade or two to get back in the mix.

For a while, it looked like a deal for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving was imminent. The Lakers would’ve gotten an elite guard while also being able to ship off Russell Westbrook. It would’ve been a logical move. That appears less likely to happen now. The Lakers could keep working the Indiana Pacers to try and land Myles Turner and Buddy Hield but that isn’t imminent either. There are moves out there that can improve Los Angeles but it’s not simple. Regardless, the Lakers have to figure something out.

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