Kent Bazemore spent just a short time with the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2014, appearing in only 23 games total. While he did show signs of being a real contributor in the league, the Lakers had their sights set on big targets in free agency that offseason, namely Carmelo Anthony, and thus decided to let Bazemore walk.
Coincidentally, both Bazemore and Anthony have now joined the Lakers this summer, each signing one-year deals with the team. That coincidence is not lost on Bazemore himself, who admitted to the Lakers letting him go as something that lit a fire under him at that time.
“It’s funny you mention that. That kind of lit a fire underneath me a little bit back in the day when I used to hold onto those kinds of things before I understood the business side of everything,” Bazemore said. “I’m just very fortunate to have another opportunity to play on the best team in basketball. One of the greatest organizations in any sport.”
More importantly, Bazemore holds no ill will toward Anthony himself. “I played with Carmelo up in Portland … It’s just cool being in a locker room with a bunch of guys that I’ve been playing with for a while and playing against for a while. It’s my 10th season. I’m here to win and I think a lot of guys are, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that all comes to fruition.”
Bazemore and Anthony were two of many veteran players to join the Lakers this offseason and the team looks as if it will again have a tough time really figuring out a rotation. Someone like Bazemore, who is coming off a solid season with the Warriors, likely had other opportunities to play on a team with a guaranteed bigger role, but he believes his impact will be felt on this Lakers team and explained why chose to re-join the Lakers.
“I’ve been in a bunch of situations like these. It’s never an easy decision,” Bazemore added. “This summer I kind of cleared my mental space. I was home alone actually. My wife and kids were out of town, so I had a lot of time to think and kind of feel what felt right.
“I felt the Lakers were very, very persistent. I heard from Mr. Pelinka and Coach Vogel a ton over the first couple hours of the evening once free agency started. They really brought amazing energy to the table. It really felt like I had a place on that roster to really make a difference. To me, that stuck out the most. Like I said, it’s my tenth season. You’re all about trying to put yourself in the best position to succeed. I feel like that’s here.”
Bazemore presents one of the best perimeter defending options for Frank Vogel’s team and if he can be that lockdown defender, he will undoubtedly make an impact this season.
Caldwell-Pope thanks Lakers organization in farewell post
One of the reasons Bazemore’s defense will be relied upon is because the team has lost its best perimeter defenders with one of those being Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The veteran guard played a huge role in the team’s 2020 NBA Championship and was the Lakers’ primary defender for much of his four years with the team.
After being traded away to Washington in the Russell Westbrook deal, Caldwell-Pope took to Instagram to thank the Lakers organization in a farewell post, specifically mentioning Jeanie Buss, Rob Pelinka and coach Frank Vogel.
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