Rockets Trade Rumors: Houston Seeking Wing Defender, Linked to Kent Bazemore

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 22: Kent Bazemore #24 of the Atlanta Hawks looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on March 22, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in a former Golden State Warriors playmaker as they attempt to dethrone the defending champions in the Western Conference.

On Monday, Kelly Iko of USA Today's Rockets Wire reported Houston is interested in Hawks guard Kent Bazemore and is "perusing the market for a wing defender." Iko noted Houston has liked Bazemore for some time and attempted to sign him during 2016 free agency.

This reported interest in a wing defender comes after Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Carmelo Anthony plans to tell the Rockets he intends to sign with them after clearing waivers following the finalization of his buyout with the Atlanta Hawks.

Anthony is not exactly renowned for his defense, and adding a wing defender following the departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to take some of the pressure off James Harden and Chris Paul on that side of the ball makes sense.

Bazemore is someone who could fit the bill after averaging a career-best 1.5 steals per game in 2017-18. Atlanta's defensive rating also improved from 108.9 when he was off the floor to 107.4 when he was on it, per NBA.com.

He brings more than just defense, though, and shot a career-best 39.4 percent from deep last season. His ability to hit from three-point range would play well in Mike D'Antoni's offense that is reliant on long shots, and he should be able to take advantage of openings playing alongside Paul and Harden.

It may not take a major package to land Bazemore, but he does have some value. Iko noted the Hawks "see him as a veteran presence during their rebuild" and value his leadership both on and off the court as a positive community presence. Iko even said Bazemore "would welcome the idea of retiring as a Hawk."

Still, the report pointed out the Hawks would move him for the correct offer and prefer a contract such as Ryan Anderson's to come with a draft pick or young asset.