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Kent Bazemore Reportedly Turned Down More Money From The Warriors To Try And Win A Title With The Lakers

When Kent Bazemore signed with the Golden State Warriors prior to the 2020-21 season, it was billed as a homecoming of sorts. Bazemore broke into the NBA with the Warriors during the 2012-13 season and, after making a bigger name for himself and securing a $70 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks, the veteran wing returned to the Warriors with an eye toward helping the team making a deep playoff run. Bazemore appeared in 67 games, averaging 19.9 minutes per contest, and he contributed at a reasonably solid level. As a result, it was at least a mild surprise when word broke on Monday that Bazemore would be signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency on a minimum deal.

It should be noted that Bazemore is also a former member of the Lakers, spending part of the 2013-14 season in Los Angeles before heading to Atlanta. However, the story becomes more interesting with additional reporting from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Mark Medina of USA Today that Bazemore actually turned down more money and an additional year to stay with the Warriors before choosing the Lakers.

There are several angles to this decision, but Bazemore has earned more than $75 million in his career, potentially allowing him to choose situation over finances. Still, the Warriors are also trying to win at a high level this season, and Bazmore almost certainly would’ve been a rotation player for Golden State, particularly if they were offering two years and more than the veteran minimum to keep him.

In Los Angeles, Bazemore joins a team that is trying to fill out its roster with minimum contracts after investing much of its trade capital in a deal for Russell Westbrook. Bazemore can help any team with his two-way ability on the wing, but he is merely an average three-point shooter historically, converting 35.6 percent of his career three-point attempts. Bazemore did knock down more than 40 percent from beyond the arc last season, though, and the Lakers will be hoping that can repeat as they search for floor-spacers around Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Bazemore does have a clear path to playing time in Los Angeles, at least as the roster stands now. With that said, this is an interesting decision and one that could flummox the Warriors as they try to position themselves in the race for title contention.

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