In the aftermath of a trade that sent Dennis Schröder to the Oklahoma City Thunder, many have speculated that highly-paid wing Kent Bazemore could be the next trade domino to fall for the Atlanta Hawks. However, all has been quiet on the trade rumor front with regard to Bazemore, at least since the highly publicized draft night buzz tying Bazemore to the eventual package that landed Trae Young in Atlanta.
That all changed on Monday evening, when Kelly Iko of USA Today’s RocketsWire (who recently broke the news of Clint Capela’s new contract) reported that the Houston Rockets “remain interested” in Bazemore on the trade market.
The Rockets have long been admirers of Bazemore, having attempted to bring him in during 2016 free agency. However, it is unclear if Houston possesses the right amount of assets it would take to get Atlanta to part ways with him now. The Hawks like Bazemore and see him as a veteran presence during their rebuild, but would move him for the right offer.
Bazemore is set to earn more than $18 million for the 2018-19 season and he holds a player option worth more than $19.2 million for the 2019-20 campaign. Though the veteran from Old Dominion enjoyed a very strong season in 2017-18, all indications are that Bazemore would likely opt in for the fourth and final year of his contract, leaving the Hawks (or any potential trade partner) with a two-year commitment.
Though the consensus indicates Bazemore’s contract is at least slightly inflated (even after a bounce-back showing), the Rockets would likely build any trade offer around Ryan Anderson (to make the salary cap math work) and that brings obstacles. The veteran big man has more than two years and $41.6 million remaining on a four-year contract also signed in 2016 and, while Anderson does bring some on-court value to the table as a stretch big, Bazemore is a superior player at a (slightly) cheaper cost over the same duration.
With that as the backdrop, the Rockets would need to include at least one asset to make a trade viable and the original reporting tosses out a deal centered around Houston sending a first round pick (in 2019, for example) to Atlanta. It would certainly be debatable as to whether that would be enough to entice Travis Schlenk into such a swap (note: it wouldn’t be enough for me) but, at the very least, the Hawks would have little incentive to make a move to acquire Anderson without considerable compensation accompanying him.
Stay tuned as more information becomes available but, even as Atlanta’s roster stands full with 15 guaranteed contracts and two players on two-way deals, fireworks could fly in the future.