In late July, word broke that the Houston Rockets were interested in acquiring Kent Bazemore in an effort to strengthen a weakened wing rotation. Given Houston’s position in the pecking order, it would make sense to target Bazemore, especially when including Ryan Anderson (and his $41 million in committed salary) in any deal to upgrade at a position of need.
On Tuesday evening, however, another team was reportedly added to the list of teams potentially seeking to acquire Bazemore, as old friend Mike Budenholzer (who does not have personnel power) and the Milwaukee Bucks are now linked through reporting from Kelly Iko of USA Today’s Rockets Wire.
Source: Kent Bazemore’s list of suitors also includes Milwaukee, who recently contacted the Hawks but initial trade talks didn’t get very far. Kent loves Atlanta, but would be open to a move to HOU/MIL since he knows both coaches well and would be joining a contender.— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) August 7, 2018
As noted above, it doesn’t appear that the Bucks and Hawks are deep in discussions but, much like the Rockets, Milwaukee would be in a position to seek another quality wing. Milwaukee doesn’t have quite as obvious of a return centerpiece but the Bucks could cobble together matching salary using players like John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova, particularly if the team was willing to include draft capital in a deal with Atlanta.
It definitely appears as if any Bucks interest is in a stage of infancy but, in addition, Iko reports that the Hawks could be willing to take Ryan Anderson in a deal from Houston... for the small price of a first round pick AND an additional asset.
Source: Atlanta would be open to taking Ryan Anderson’s remaining $41 million back, but would need draft pick + one of Houston’s young guys. A package of Anderson, Melton and a 2019 first might be enough to get a deal done, but Houston is high on Melton and his upside.— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) August 7, 2018
De’Anthony Melton, who inexplicably slipped to No. 46 in the draft, has been a favorite in this space for some time. In the same breath, the Hawks had the opportunity to select him both at No. 30 and No. 34 (in addition to No. 19) and did not elect to do so, leaving some uncertainty as to the team’s interest level in the former USC guard.
Regardless, this is a strong negotiating position from Travis Schlenk, who might agree with sentiments previously expressed here that simply acquiring one first round pick to swap Bazemore and Anderson wouldn’t be enough. It remains to be seen as to whether the Hawks will actually pull the trigger on a deal involving Bazemore prior to training camp but there is more buzz to sift through as mid-August approaches.