NBA Trade Rumors: Kent Bazemore Coveted Target for Contending Teams

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2018

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 12:  Kent Bazemore #24 of the Atlanta Hawks brings the ball up the court against the Dallas Mavericks on December 12, 2018 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. 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 License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Glenn James/Getty Images

Atlanta Hawks wing Kent Bazemore is "generating interest from contending teams that covet a versatile swingman," according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Per Stein, Bazemore's significant salary next season—he has a player option for $19.3 million, which would eat up cap space at a time when a number of stars are set to hit the market—isn't dissuading teams from inquiring about his services.

As Stein noted, the interest "tells you that, in this marketplace, he's regarded as a difference-maker."

He also wrote that there are "more buyers than sellers in the marketplace, thanks in part to a Western Conference in which 14 of the 15 teams believe they are in contention for eight playoff spots." With more teams to vie for fewer players, Bazemore's value may only rise.

Of course, a few of those Western Conference teams might start slumping and consider selling off role players for draft assets later in the season. But teams like Atlanta, clearly out of the playoff picture, will field numerous calls in the next two months.

Bazemore undoubtedly could help a contender. The 29-year-old is averaging 13.2 points and 1.8 steals per game, shooting 44.3 percent from the field but just 31.3 percent from three, his lowest mark since his rookie season of 2012-13.

For his career, he's shot 35.5 percent from deep.

Two-way wings are always in high demand, even when they are arguably overpaid like Bazemore. He may be most attractive to top teams that feel they are a player or two away from making a deep postseason run but are unlikely to be major players in free agency, and therefore are more comfortable absorbing his significant salary.

In other words, it would be surprising to see Bazemore finish the season in Atlanta.

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