In a move further solidifying the Lakers plans this summer, the purple and gold opted not to extend a qualifying offer to Kent Bazemore, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Bazemore came to Los Angeles in the trade that sent out Steve Blake out to Golden State. Along with Bazemore, the Lakers brought in MarShon Brooks. The duo impressed immediately, helping the Lakers to a win over rival Boston in their first game. However, Brooks faded into the shadows after that game, while Bazemore continued to impress.
The athletic and energetic guard turned many heads in his time with the Lakers. Given his first consistent minutes of his career, Bazemore shined bright in Mike D’Antoni‘s wide-open offense. In 23 games for the Lakers, Bazemore average 13.1 points on 45% field goal shooting while also shooting 37% from deep. Albeit a small sample size, those numbers were the best of his young career.
The move to not give Bazemore an offer sheet sheds a cap hold on the Lakers salary cap this summer, which explains the link between Bazemore and James/Anthony. There is still a good chance that Bazemore returns to the Lakers, but all will depend on the decisions made by James, Anthony, and even Chris Bosh, who the Lakers might target as plan B.