The NBA trade deadline is earlier than usual this season. “When is it?” Hawks guard Kent Bazemore said today. It’s Feb. 8. “Oh,” Bazemore said, laughing. “I had no idea, man.” Clearly Bazemore isn’t focused on the pending deadline. However, Bazemore is aware that he’s included among the inevitable trade rumors. TNT analyst David Aldridge, writing at NBA.com, cited anonymous league sources in reporting that the Cavaliers have inquired with the Hawks about Bazemore. The Cavaliers have lost 10 of their last 13 games and are looking to fortify their roster, especially defensively, as they prepare for another championship run with LeBron James. Bazemore, 28, said he prefers to stay with the Hawks but understands trades are part of the business. He knows from personal experience: the Warriors traded him to the Lakers in February 2014, before he was an established NBA player. “It is what it is,” Bazemore said. “I’ve had great vets around me coming up that have kind of warned me and prepared me for situations like this. But it’s out of my control.” Certainly the rebuilding Hawks are open to moving Bazemore, especially for a draft pick. The Cavaliers have two picks in the first round: their own and an unprotected pick from the Nets, who are on pace to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. However, as Aldridge notes, Bazemore is owed more than $37 million over the next two seasons (including a player option for 2019-20). The Cavaliers may be reluctant to both send away a draft pick also take on Bazemore’s contract when they aren’t sure if James will opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent. Financial considerations aside, Bazemore would fill Cleveland’s need for a good defender. He’s also shooting a career-best 38.2 percent on 3-pointers (though his effective field-goal percentage of 49.2 is below league average). The Hawks signed Bazemore to his contract before principal owner Tony Ressler decided to strip down the roster and rebuild via the draft with a new GM, Travis Schlenk. The Hawks (14-32) are 7-7 over the last month but still are tied with Orlando for the worst record in the East. There have been times this season when Bazemore has seemed worn down by the losing. But he said that, on balance, it’s been a positive experience.
Hawks’ Bazemore on trade rumors: ‘If up to me, I want to bring a championship here’
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Jan 24