NBA Trade Rumors: Hawks' Kent Bazemore, Rockets' Ryan Anderson Swap Discussed

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2018

Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore reacts during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 107-102. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)
Brett Davis/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony already agreed to sign with the Houston Rockets, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, but the Western Conference contender reportedly isn't done looking for additions this offseason. 

According to Kelly Iko of USA Today's Rockets Wire, Kent Bazemore "would be open to a move" to the Houston Rockets.

Iko noted the Atlanta Hawks would be willing to take big man Ryan Anderson and the $41 million remaining on his contract in the trade but only if there are a draft pick and young asset attached in the deal. He suggested Anderson, rookie De'Anthony Melton and a 2019 first-round pick may be enough to convince the Hawks to move Bazemore.

However, Sam Amick of USA Today cited sources who suggested the Rockets are "not pursuing or interested in" Bazemore and added more context:

Despite Amick's report, Iko went on to call Bazemore "almost an exact Ariza replacement" after swingman Trevor Ariza signed with the Phoenix Suns this offseason and left a hole on Houston's roster that won more regular-season games than any team in the NBA last season. Luc Mbah a Moute also departed this offseason, signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Houston would be getting more than just Bazemore as a potential replacement for Ariza and Mbah a Moute in this potential deal, as moving Anderson's contract would provide significant salary relief moving forward as it attempts to build a team capable of taking down the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

On the court, Bazemore figures to improve the defense considering he posted a career-best 1.5 steals per game last season and improved Atlanta's defensive rating from 107.4 when he was on the floor compared to 108.9 when he was off it, per NBA.com.

While the Rockets reached Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Warriors, they will need to figure out ways to at least slow the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant if they are going to take the next step in 2018-19. Adding someone like Bazemore would give them another wing defender to throw at the Golden State machine.

Bazemore could also benefit from playing alongside James Harden and Chris Paul on the offensive end after hitting a career-best 39.4 percent of his threes last season.

Along with the defense, the Rockets will need to keep pace on the perimeter with Golden State's trio, and Bazemore can capitalize on the openings created by penetration from Harden and Paul even though he wouldn't serve as the focal point in the offense.

Houston could do much worse in terms of veteran additions who can help fill the void left by Ariza and Mbah a Moute.

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