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NBA PM: Time For Kent Bazemore to Get Paid

Kent Bazemore is up for a huge payday this summer. Now, he faces LeBron James to further his case.

Lang Greene

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Time For Kent Bazemore to Get Paid

In life, individual success is usually determined by how well someone maximizes their opportunity when given a chance to shine. Some rise to the occasion, others crumble under increased the pressure. That’s life.

Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore fits into the former category. The fourth-year player was thrust into the Hawks’ starting lineup when forward DeMarre Carroll took his talents to Toronto last summer. The Hawks had to make a choice, for financial reasons, to either re-sign All-Star forward Paul Millsap or Carroll. The team opted for the All-Star talent, naturally, and the Raptors received a player coming off two breakout campaigns in Atlanta.

But Carroll’s departure left Atlanta with a huge void on the wing. Carroll was the team’s best individual defender and an integral part of their perimeter defense strategy. Most believed the Hawks would have to look externally to fill the small forward vacancy, but the franchise opted to take a chance on letting Bazemore fill the starting role.

Bazemore responded to the challenge, posting averages of 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 75 appearances. The forward also connected on 109 three-point field goals at a 36 percent clip.

Transitioning into the playoffs, Bazemore posted averages of 14 points and seven rebounds in the team’s elimination of the Boston Celtics in the first round. Bazemore, on the Hawks’ books for just $2 million this season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. It goes without saying that Bazemore will be in high demand, especially with the salary cap expected to rise exponentially.

The Hawks will enter the summer in a similar situation, but with a bit more financial flexibility. All-Star center Al Horford is also headed to unrestricted free agency and remains the team’s top priority to re-sign. The Hawks could have upwards of $30 million in cap space this summer, so there is the flexibility there to re-sign both Bazemore and Horford that wasn’t there for Carroll and Millsap last summer.

Atlanta now faces the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Cavaliers viciously swept the Hawks last season, so there is a revenge angle for the franchise. But from an individual standpoint, Bazemore gets to go toe to toe with four-time league MVP LeBron James.

James demolished the Hawks in the Conference Finals last season to the tune of 30.3 points, 11 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game. No one is expecting Bazemore to completely shut down arguably the best player in the game today, but if he’s able to hold his own, it would solidify what most already believe is a foregone conclusion: a huge payday is looming come July.

Evan Turner Open to Returning to Boston

In the grand scheme of things, the Boston Celtics are undoubtedly a team on the rise. But for the moment, they are a squad coming off back-to-back first round playoff eliminations. Most of the players in Boston’s nightly rotation are contractually locked in for next season.

However, forward Evan Turner is headed to unrestricted free agency. While the Celtics are projected to have anywhere between $14 million to $50 million in cap space, the majority of teams around the league will have room to maneuver financially as well.

For the time being, Turner is saying he’d like to stay but readily admits there are a lot of things that will transpire between now and July.

“I really don’t know,” Turner said, according to Mike Petraglia of WEEI. “I would love to come back, but at the same time, a lot of things, a lot of variables that are going to occur and things like that that I can’t control. Whenever July hits, we’ll talk about it.”

Turner, a former No. 2 overall pick, is looking for fit in his future destination after playing a variety of roles since entering the league.

“Just fit, obviously,” Turner said. “I want to get a decent amount of money, you know what I’m saying? But at the same time the fit is going to be huge and the opportunity to play on a winning team. I have played on [expletive] teams a couple times and it’s not fun. But obviously the fit, the opportunity to play, and the opportunity to progress and win.

“I love [Boston], obviously. It’s the best place to play. You go out to a lot of places or organizations, but this is a true franchise. So to be able to play at the Garden and walk past Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn, things like that, it’s been real. I definitely am glad to say I was able to play here, and hopefully I get more chances.”

Turner averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 81 contests this season. The veteran averaged 13.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists in Boston’s first-round elimination loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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