Hawks' Kent Bazemore Reportedly Will Opt into $19 Million Contract Option

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2019

Atlanta Hawks' Kent Bazemore smiles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kent Bazemore will exercise a $19.3 million player option in his contract for the 2019-20 NBA season on Monday. 

Agent Austin Walton provided the update to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday.

Bazemore averaged 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting just 40.2 percent from the field, including 32 percent from three-point range, across 67 games (35 starts) for the Hawks this season. It was his worst shooting campaign since playing a limited role for the Golden State Warriors in 2013-14.

His Player Efficiency Rating dropped from a career-best 14.5 last year to 11.9 this season, per Basketball Reference. He ranked 67th among shooting guards in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus.

The 29-year-old Old Dominion product was mentioned in the rumor mill ahead of the February trade deadline. While the Hawks couldn't find a suitor for his high-priced contract, the guard had told Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (via HoopsHype) he was prepared for any outcome.

"Regardless of what happens, I’ll be ready. When I first got in the league, vets told me to stay ready so I won't have to get ready. I worked my butt off every day (with Golden State), and I got traded to L.A. I got thrown in the fire and was ready to hold my own. That's the mentality I've had. I have a contract that's on the bigger end.

"There are so many variables that go into it. I'm going where the wind blows. I've learned to kind of be like water and let life take its course and just adapt to situations. I'm a positive person. I feel like the work I've put in here is showing, and I'm comfortable here. I sleep well at night."

It's hard to imagine he would have received offers anywhere near $19.3 million annually on the open market based on his lackluster production, so the quick option decision is no surprise.

Atlanta may once again attempt to trade him during the offseason, but he'll take on a reserve role behind wing starters Kevin Huerter and Taurean Prince if he returns to the Hawks.

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