While the Los Angeles Lakers were able to retain a couple of their own free agents today in Jordan Hill and Nick Young, one of the team’s newest additions managed to escape their grasp.
Unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore and the Atlanta Hawks have agreed to a two-year deal worth $4 million, according to Marc Stein from ESPN.
The Lakers acquired Bazemore from the Golden State Warriors the night before the trade deadline in February in exchange for Steve Blake. The athletic guard made an instant impact as he registered 15 points, 4 assists and 2 steals in his debut against the Boston Celtics.
Bazemore would go onto average 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals in 23 games for the Lakers before tearing a tendon in his right foot which lead to him missing the end of the season.
The purple and gold could have made Bazemore a restricted free agent this summer by extended a qualifying offer his way last month, though the team decided against it in order to preserve cap space.
However, due to owning his early Bird rights, the Lakers still could have provided Bazemore with a deal worth up to $5.6 million, though for whatever reason, it appears they declined to match Atlanta’s offer.
Although, it should be noted that the Lakers made a late push to re-sign the 25-year-old, according to RealGM.
The Lakers may decide to bring back Xavier Henry on a minimum salary deal as a possible replacement for Bazemore if he is able to prove to the team that he has recovered from the wrist and ankle injuries he suffered last season.