NBA free agency: Lakers express interest in Kent Bazemore

The Lakers’ quest to facilitate their rebuilding project led them toward reaching back to their recent past.

The Lakers expressed interest on Thursday in acquiring Atlanta forward Kent Bazemore, according to league sources. But two years after Bazemore became a lost casualty of the Lakers’ heavier priority on star free agents, the Lakers will field stiff competition from other teams interested in his services.

Bazemore met with representatives of the Houston Rockets on Thursday night and has shown interest toward six other teams, including the Hawks, league sources said. After averaging 11.6 points on 44.1 percent shooting and 5.1 rebounds in his second season with Atlanta, Bazemore has become a rising commodity because of his offensive and defensive versatility.

The Lakers wanted to re-sign Bazemore in the 2014 offseason. He had averaged a career-high 13.1 points per game through 28 appearances with the Lakers, arriving in February after the NBA trade deadline in a deal that sent Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors.

But the Lakers opted against giving Bazemore a $1.1 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent in order to maximize purchasing power for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers also finalized deals with Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and Jordan Hill.


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