The Portland Trail Blazers made their first trade of the offseason by acquiring Kent Bazemore from the Atlanta Hawks.
According to both franchises, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Atlanta Hawks agreed to a player-for-player trade on Monday. The Blazers are sending Evan Turner to the Hawks for Kent Bazemore. Both teams officially announced the deal on Monday afternoon after ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported it earlier in the day.
Turner had been in Portland since 2016 when he agreed to a four-year, $70 million contract that turned out to be one of the worst contracts in the entire league the past few seasons. Even Turner was surprised by the proposal from the Blazers. This is a quote from a piece by ESPN‘s Zach Lowe:
“[Turner] was almost as stunned as you by Portland’s mega-offer, by the way, which turned out to be for four years and $70 million. Turner’s agent made him promise not to tell anyone about the proposal until he signed it. Turner was too giddy, though. He hung up with his agent, immediately called Andre Iguodala, still a close friend and mentor, and blurted out, “Yo, Dre! They offered this!” Turner recalled, laughing. Iguodala told him to take the deal right away.”
In three seasons primarily coming off the bench and running the second unit for the Blazers, Turner averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.6 steals per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from the 3-point line. His strong defense and ability to create offense with the ball in his hands was valuable during the team’s Western Conference Finals run in the playoffs.
However, in comes seven-year pro Kent Bazemore to the Blazers. He played four years at Old Dominion University and then was undrafted in 2012. He was a G League player for the Golden State Warriors as a rookie and then the Los Angeles Lakers the next season. At the end of the 2013-14 season, he played well enough for the Lakers to earn a two-year, $4 million contract from the Hawks in free agency.
It didn’t take long for Bazemore to prove he was a valuable NBA player who impacted the game on both ends of the floor. After two excellent seasons, he earned himself another contract offer from Atlanta. This time, it was worth four years and $70 million.
Bazemore established himself as a solid 3-and-D wing in the league in his five seasons with Atlanta. He averaged 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 24.8 minutes per game while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from the 3-point line.
His best season for the team came during 2017-18 where he posted 12.9 points, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 39.4 percent from deep. Bazemore recorded 100 made 3s, and 100 total steals that year.
Portland entered the summer needing to improve its roster and trading for Bazemore is an excellent first step in doing that. The Blazers will surely miss the presence of Turner in their locker room, but business is business. Here are four reasons why Bazemore will help improve the team.