Free agency certainly hasn’t gotten off to the start that the Los Angeles Lakers hoped it would. After landing Timofey Mozgov with a controversial four-year, $64 million deal and bringing back Jordan Clarkson for four years and $50 million, the team has stalled in their efforts to land other targets.
Nicolas Batum, who was rumored to be near the top of the Lakers’ wish list, returned to the Charlotte Hornets on a huge deal. Chandler Parsons joined Mike Conley in Memphis, and Hassan Whiteside opted to go back to the Miami Heat. The free agent pool that was considered shallow from the get-go is drying up quickly.
Now, it appears that former-Laker Kent Bazemore has turned down a big offer from the Lakers as well as the Houston Rockets to return to the Atlanta Hawks (per David Aldridge of TNT):
Kent Bazemore takes four years, $70M, turning down four/$72M from Houston and the Lakers, to go back to the Hawks, per source.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 2, 2016
Reaction around the league was less than positive when the Mozgov deal was announced, but as free agency continues we are seeing a number of surprisingly big contracts go to mid-tier players. Had Bazemore accepted the Lakers’ offer he would have been a solid addition, but whether or not tying up that much cap space on a player of his caliber is wise or not would be debatable.
Of course, most of the focus from this story will center around the Lakers again failing to attract even a mid-level talent, and be used as proof that the once mighty franchise is no longer a draw. That may be the case, but it also has to be noted that due to state taxes being lower than they are in Georgia, Atlanta’s $70 million offer actually nets Bazemore a higher take-home amount than the Lakers’ $72 million does.
Regardless, the Lakers have to be disappointed that Bazemore turned them down, and will now move on to other targets.