Several times in recent years, while on the payroll of other teams, Kent Bazemore would show up at a Warriors game and spend time afterward with such old teammates/friends as Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala.
No longer will Bazemore have to leave his team to go to hang out with the Warriors. He agreed Sunday to rejoin the franchise with which he signed his first NBA contract, in 2012, as an undrafted free agent from Old Dominion.
Bazemore’s decision to return – on a one-year contract at the veteran’s minimum, according to a league source – six years after he was traded away is about coming back to a place that he enjoyed for nearly two years. He played sparingly with the Warriors and perhaps was best known for his hyperactive celebrations on the bench.
For the Warriors, this mostly is about landing one more wing defender, along with Brad Wanamaker, to a roster that has Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre.
At 6-foot-4 but with a 7-foot wingspan, Bazemore’s primary role will be to come off the bench and play defense. His Defensive Real Plus/Minus numbers generally are above average. In 68 games last season with the Kings, mostly as a reserve, he snagged at least two steals 19 times and had nine games of two or more blocked shots.
Bazemore, 31, also is capable of spacing the floor on offense. Though he shot only 34.8 percent from deep in Sacramento last season, his career-best mark from distance came in 2017-18, when he shot 39.4 percent with the Hawks.
With the four-year, $70 million contract he signed with the Hawks in 2016 expiring last season, Bazemore entered this month as a free agent with no assurances, but several options. Once the Warriors expressed interest, there was no need to consider another franchise.
He now can look forward to spending off days playing golf with some of the guys who eight years ago first welcomed him into the NBA.