The Hawks have moved on from their longest-tenure player by sending veteran guard Kent Bazemore to the Trail Blazers for Evan Turner on Monday.
Bazemore is about to enter the final year of his contract that will pay him $19.3 million. Turner is also about to enter the final years of his contract that will pay him 18.6 million. Both players signed four-year deals as free agents in 2016.
Bazemore, 29, played the past five seasons with the Hawks as he found a home in Atlanta after stops with the Warriors and Lakers. He made it to the NBA after going undrafted out of Old Dominion in 2010. He averaged 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 2017-18, his best season with Hawks. He averaged 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season after he fell out of the starting lineup midway through the season after a three-year stint as the shooting guard.
Bazemore posted a thank you to Atlanta on social media. He tweeted:
“Atlanta, I dont even know where to start. Want to thank the @ATLHawks for the a tremendous run over the past five years. Lots of roots planted in this city! To the front office and management, thank you putting me in a situation to thrive!”
Bazemore signed a four-year, $70 million contract with the Hawks in 2016, turning down richer contracts elsewhere to stay with the Hawks. He indeed made a home in Atlanta. He became entrenched in the community with his charity the ARMS Foundation, got married and he and his wife recently had their first child. His annual golf tournament to benefit his foundation is scheduled for this week.
Bazemore’s role has diminished in ongoing rebuild of the organization and it was likely to decrease more with the Hawks draft additions of De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.
By moving Bazemore, the Hawks open more playing time for Kevin Huerter, Hunter and Reddish. It also gives Bazemore an opportunity to play for a contender in light of the decreased role.
The Hawks were also in need of a backup point guard. Behind starter Trae Young, Jaylen Adams, a two-way player for much of last season, is the only natural point guard. Turner, who played for coach Lloyd Pierce with the 76ers, will assume the role of the backup. The Hawks see Turner as most capable of filling the position.
The moves gives the Hawks a more balanced roster, which stands at 14 players. The remaining need may be another center.
“We are appreciative of Kent’s contributions to the Hawks organization and to the greater Atlanta community over the last five years,” general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “We wish him and his family all the best in Portland.”
Turner, 30, has appeared in 686 career games in nine NBA seasons with the 76ers, Pacers, Celtics and Trail Blazers, where he spent the past three seasons. He, like Bazemore, signed a four-year, $70 million deal in 2016. The 6-foot-7 Turner was the No. 2 overall pick by the 76ers in 2010 out of Ohio State.
“We are happy to add Evan to our team, a veteran who we believe can help our club,” Schlenk said in a statement. “The versatility he has shown throughout his career will be valuable for us this season.”
Bazemore was the last remaining Hawks player from the 60-win team that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2014-15 season. With the pending trade of Taurean Prince, DeAndre Bemby becomes the longest tenured Hawk as he is about to enter his fourth season.
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