Atlanta Hawks Must Trade Kent Bazemore Sooner Than Later

Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A quick think piece on why it makes sense for the Atlanta Hawks to trade Kent Bazemore sooner rather than later.

Before going any further, let’s make this abundantly clear: Kent Bazemore of the Atlanta Hawks is an absolute delight, and his tremendous service – both on the court and off the court in the community – has been a shining beacon of just how much good an NBA player can do.

However, with this being the final year on his mammoth contract signed by then GM/Coach Mike Budenholzer in 2016, the Hawks should try their best to trade him away to a team that needs help on the perimeter with a three-and-D archetype.

Again, Baze is currently the longest-tenured player on the Hawks, having been with the team since the magical 60-win season of 2014-15. For the time since that season, Baze played most of those minutes off the bench – starting 35 games out of the 67 he saw action in.

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That change in role might’ve led to a slight dip in production as well. Though Baze logged a career-high 11.6 points per game in 2018-19, his efficiency dipped from 110.2 points per 100 possessions last season to a paltry 102.8 this year, according to Cleaning the Glass.

After his best-ever season from deep in 2017-18 (39.4%), that number fell to 32 percent last season.

Overall, it was a down year for Baze, and though it was clear that he was still a locker room leader, the team seemingly replaced him with one of the hoariest players in the NBA – Vince Carter – as the team’s de facto grizzled veteran.

With that in mind, Baze did not play with the same ferocity and consistency that he expressed in 2017-18, possibly due to the fact that he was benched in favor of his likely future replacement Kevin Huerter halfway through the season.

The smart money would’ve been on Baze getting traded at last year’s trade deadline, but because he was not, the Atlanta Hawks should prioritize trading Baze as soon as possible. In a better role in which he is able to get consistent minutes – potentially as a starter – Baze could be a difference-maker, and his numbers would likely trend upwards in that scenario.

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Though he would be missed, it certainly seems as if Kent Bazemore’s days as a member of the Atlanta Hawks is numbered.