The Kings are losing another one of their wings.
Kent Bazemore has left Sacramento in free agency to return to his first NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. Per reporting from Anthony Slater of the The Athletic, the deal is for one season at the veteran’s minimum.
Source: Kent Bazemore's one-year deal is for $2.3 million. Won't cut into the Warriors' MLE or (potential) DPE usage.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 22, 2020
Bazemore was a fairly seamless fit into the Kings rotation when he arrived in the trade for Trevor Ariza. Bazemore defended well and provided a locker room lift. He even said that he could see himself in Sacramento for the next couple of years because of the promise of what the team was building. This was all before the front office went through a complete overhaul after the end of the regular season, however.
Instead, Bazemore decided to leave a rebuilding situation for a team that is much closer to contending. Despite losing Klay Thompson for the season to an achilles tear, the Warriors still project to be a lower-rung playoff team if Stephen Curry is back healthy. Bazemore and Curry have been close friends since Bazemore’s first stint in Golden State, so much so that Bazemore was the Trojan horse who got Curry to sign with Under Armour.
It didn’t make much sense for the Kings to keep Bazemore after selecting two guard/wing prospects in Wednesday’s NBA Draft: Robert Woodard II and Jahmi’us Ramsey. The team also extended a qualifying offer to keep DaQuan Jeffries around and still has Justin James. Sacramento is in a developmental phase, and Bazemore probably wants to taste the postseason again after a three-year absence. The Kings weren’t going to overpay to keep him around, so Bazemore went elsewhere.
This was always a marriage of convenience to get off of Ariza’s money. Now it has come to an end.