Rob Pelinka is going to have his work cut out for him as he tries to rebuild the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster for the third year in a row, especially after missing the playoffs.
Because of the Russell Westbrook trade, the Lakers are going to be limited in any deals or free agent signings, meaning the front office will need to round out the team with minimum contracts. What hurt Los Angeles during the 2021-22 season is most of their veteran signings did not pan out the way they hoped they would.
For example, Kent Bazemore looked like he would have a significant role as a 3-and-D wing but instead found himself glued to the bench for most of the year. It is an open question as to whether or not he would want to return but did admit that being a Laker is a different experience, via TMZ Sports:
“A lot goes into that. But what I’ll say there’s ain’t nothing much better than being a Laker. Getting to see Kobe’s numbers on the wall every day when I went to practice was a good inspiration for me to continue to push through. There’s nothing like it, it’s a historic franchise.”
Free agents might be wary of signing with Los Angeles because of how poorly their season went, but Bazemore dispelled that idea when he said there is still appeal in wearing a Purple and Gold jersey:
“Oh for sure, 100 percent. Wear that across your chest every day, it means a lot.”
Despite not playing much, Bazemore kept a positive attitude, which was something that former head coach Frank Vogel appreciated about the veteran. Los Angeles will need to find more size and shooting along the perimeter to get back into contention, and Bazemore theoretically fits the bill though it remains to be seen whether or not the front office would have any interest in re-signing him.
Even though Los Angeles had a rough year, veterans are still going to be attracted to the prospect of playing next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Bazemore sounds like someone who welcome coming back and it will be interesting to see if he suits up for L.A. again.
Kent Bazemore still proud of his 2021-22 season
It can be hard for players like Bazemore to accept being out of the rotation, but he kept his head high throughout the year. In fact, Bazemore said midseason he was proud of himself for how he handled things.
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