Bazemore was one of the players on the list for the Lakers and the fit made sense. The Lakers needed wing depth and Bazemore was a player that was still young at 27 years old and had built a role for himself as a solid contributor. He played solid defense and could space the floor with his shooting. Not to mention his athleticism on the open floor. He would be a natural fit for the Lakers and would be very fun with this young core.
Sadly things didn’t work out this summer. He was a unrestricted free agent, so he fielded plenty of offers. The Rockets, Lakers, and yours truly were all interested in the lefty.
The Lakers even made him an offer of 4 years, 72 million. It was 2 million more than the 4 year, 70 million offer the Hawks made. Yet he seemed to weigh other factors when making his decision like when the Lakers didn’t extend the qualifying offer as noted in Mark Medina article:
“One thing you want in this league is to be wanted. They didn’t pick it up for that little amount of money,” Bazemore said. “So that showed how much they believed in me and my abilities. That closed that chapter.”
He still thanked the Lakers for the chance to play:
“I still thank the organization for giving me a chance to go out and show I can play,” Bazemore said. “There’s no bad blood. But from the business side, they had their chance.”
That is a fair mentality for a player to have. The Lakers had a chance to keep him, but they didn’t for a little sum of money. It showed how much they believed in him. He then came to the Hawks and had success. Making his stance justifiable:
“Knowing I wanted to be here was critical for me. Knowing the feeling was mutual with the front office was great,” Bazemore said. “I had a lot of teams knocking, but it didn’t make sense to leave and tear down what I built here.”“Knowing I wanted to be here was critical for me. Knowing the feeling was mutual with the front office was great,” Bazemore said. “I had a lot of teams knocking, but it didn’t make sense to leave and tear down what I built here.”
That 2 million dollar difference didn’t mean as much to Bazemore as did the chance the Hawks gave him after the Lakers. This leaves the Lakers wondering what if. The Chance the Rapper look alike appears to be happy in Atlanta and for the Lakers, they still managed to pick up a veteran wing in Luol Deng. Both parties are happy. Although I’m sure the Lakers would rather have the younger player with potential just to fit the timeline with the young players. But that’s business.