Trail Blazers Get An Upgrade as Hawks Do Right By Kent Bazemore

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With free agency approaching on June 30th this will be far from the flashiest transaction you will see all summer.

The latest Woj bomb reported that the Atlanta Hawks are trading away their longest-tenured player to the Portland Trail Blazers for long-time journeyman Evan Turner.

Most deals are made for cap space especially if the deal is being done prior to free agency. However, both players are on slightly overpaid 4-year deals so no one’s wallet is suddenly lighter this morning.

Bazemore is the better player. Rodney Hood put himself back on the map during this past playoff run and has likely played his way beyond whatever contract the Blazers are able to offer him this summer. Bringing in Bazemore provides insurance and gives Portland a better shooter, defender, cutter, and athlete than Turner. He’s not a laser from three-point range (32% last season but 35% for his career) but is certainly better than Turner who is not a threat at all from behind the arc (21% last season). Landing Bazemore gives the Blazers extra offensive insurance with Seth Curry also entering into his free agency this summer. Portland is not overwhelmingly better today but this slight tune up did not hurt.

By dealing Bazemore and bringing in Evan Turner, the Hawks have completely paved the way for their rebuild. This was not a basketball transaction, but rather a move where they could send off one of the franchise’s most loyal faces in order to give him a chance to play for a contender. The Hawks also traded up for DeAndre Hunter and drafted Duke’s Cam Reddish. Wing minutes will be at a premium and this move will allow more minutes for these young assets to grow.

Atlanta’s four highest-paid contracts (Turner, Allen Crabbe, Solomon Hill, and Miles Plumlee) are all expiring next year and will pave the way for the Hawks to have two max slots for free agency 2020 in addition to all the young talent they already have in house. Turner is a veteran presence who has been credited with being a major part of the team-building culture in Portland. He will bring much-needed experience to Atlanta’s locker room and brings a little more versatility than Bazemore with his playmaking ability allowing him to play point-guard minutes.

Neither team’s on-court product should see drastic changes as a result of this specific deal. However, the Hawks were classy moving their loyal vet to a contending team where he could see a career revival while paving the way for their stars of tomorrow. Kent Bazemore will have an opportunity to provide aid to a Blazer team that will return Jusuf Nurkic at some point and be in the thick of the playoff hunt next season.

 

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