It seems like a million years ago that the Sacramento Kings acquired Kent Bazemore in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers in January 2020. Bazemore was productive before COVID-19 threw a monkey wrench in the NBA and the world.
In 25 games with Sacramento, including the NBA bubble, he averaged 10.3 points, making 38.4% of his 3s, and was an energizer for most of his appearances.
So, what’s he been up to since?
Since his brief stint in Sacramento, Bazemore, 33, has seen his place in the NBA diminish.
In 2020-21 with the Golden State Warriors, Bazemore was a fine contributor to a team that was ravaged by injuries. Bazemore got some experience playing for Mike Brown when he was the top assistant under Steve Kerr, which may have factored into him rejoining the Kings.
Then last season, Bazemore signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, and nothing went right for him. In Los Angeles, Bazemore dropped off in nearly every category statistically and was such a negative that he was on the outskirts of the struggling Lakers rotation by the end of the season.
The contract details aren’t available for Bazemore, but presumably, he’s on a minimum contract, so at the very least he’s a solid culture veteran that can play in a pinch.
Entering this season, the Kings once again lack small forward depth. Being 6-foot-5 and skinny, Bazemore is a bit small to play at the three, but considering the team’s lack of an answer besides Harrison Barnes, I get the feeling Bazemore sees most of his time at that position.
The best scenario for Bazemore this season is that he thrives in the backup small forward roll, bringing energy and solid 3-and-D minutes.
Worst case, Bazemore’s play continues to decline in his 30s and he plays sparingly before finding his way outside the NBA altogether sooner rather than later.
Signing a minimum contract with the Kings, more than a month in free agency, had to mean Bazemore didn’t have too many options at this point in his career. Hopefully, Bazemore can revive his career a bit on a Kings team that needs to find some surprise contributors.
It’s to be determined how much Bazemore helps the Kings this year, but at the very least, I don’t mind the team taking a shot on a guy that was providing them solid minutes just a little more than two years ago.