The Houston Rockets have found themselves meeting with a star early on in free agency almost every summer over the last several years.
This year was a bit different when their first meeting of free agency was spent with Kent Bazemore.
For those that aren’t familiar with him, Bazemore is a 27-year old (his birthday is today) SG/SF who played for the Warriors, Lakers and Hawks. Last year was his first season playing significant minutes (27.7 mpg), which saw him average 15.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on 44.1 shooting from the field and 35.7 percent from three.
Bazemore is a good offensive player but also a good defender. Though he checks in at just 6″5, the Old Dominion University product has a 6″11.5 wingspan which helped him average 1.3 steals per game last year.
Space City Scoop
The interest in Bazemore makes sense from Houston’s standpoint. He’s a good fit in Mike D’Antoni’s offense having played for him while with the Lakers. Though not an overall great three-point shooter, Bazemore hit over 40 percent from the corners, a big part of the Rockets offense.
Bazemore isn’t a big name but the Rockets appear to be very interested in his services. Houston sent owner Les Alexander, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and James Harden to meet with him, showing him they have legitimate interest. Bazemore is expected to command around $19 million per season.
Bringing in Bazemore would also likely help the Rockets’ chances of adding Al Horford. Bazemore and Horford are said to be close friends and both could choose to go to Houston and play with a star in Harden, or opt to stay in Atlanta and try to win with a team likely not strong enough to compete in the Eastern Conference.
If the Rockets were to sign Bazemore, expect them to look for a trade for Trevor Ariza. The veteran small forward would likely be relegated to bench duty, thus rendering him more useful to other teams. It’s possible the Rockets keep both Ariza and Bazemore, but Ariza is owed just over $15 million total for the next two seasons, a reasonable amount with the spike in salary cap, but the Rockets may opt to spend their money elsewhere.
NBA Free Agency is officially underway and expect the Rockets to be involved in many rumors over the next few weeks.
Click here for more on the Rockets’ offseason.