“...Unless they can package their expirings for someone like Kent Bazemore, which has been a rumor.”
After first mentioning the Boston Celtics would be wise to save their assets to pounce on Anthony Davis — if presented the opportunity down the road, yada, yada, instead of Kawhi Leonard now, Simmons contemplated the Pelicans position in the Western Conference if DeMarcus Cousins winds up leaving New Orleans. How would the organization be able to improve the roster and build on the success enjoyed last season?
Possible renewed interest in trading for Bazemore makes sense on several fronts despite his bloated contract. The Pelicans have pursued him in the past — seemingly since Danny Ferry became a special adviser to General Manager Dell Demps, the team will have limited options in free agency even if Boogie leaves as they’ll be limited to the use of exceptions, and the Hawks have maintained a long standing desire to flip Bazemore for some future asset.
Similar to how the Pelicans acquired Nikola Mirotic, where they sent out Omer Asik, Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson, the hope here is Atlanta would be willing to take back the expiring contract of Alexis Ajinca and perhaps Solomon Hill’s remaining two-years for some future draft compensation. After all, the Hawks are reported one of several teams willing to take on salaries from those seeking to field competitive rosters for the right price.
Before getting overly excited by the thought of a new perimeter shooting wing, who exhibits solid rebounding outputs and uses his 6’11+ reach to tally great steal and block numbers, understand Bazemore doesn’t possess the ideal size for a small forward, standing 6’5 and weighing a hair over 200 pounds. Also, realize Atlanta isn’t about to give him away for peanuts while taking on unenviable salary. A future first round pick would at least need to be included for an almost 29-year-old player who isn’t as versatile as Mirotic yet more expensive.
Whether Bill Simmons is relying on new information or just previous rumors of New Orleans fondness, Kent Bazemore would fit nicely into Alvin Gentry’s small-ball attack amid Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis — thereby moving E’Twaun Moore to his better suited bench role. If Cousins boogies his way out of New Orleans for zero return, the Pelicans must find ways to boost their talent level up a few notches to remain firmly in the mix for a consecutive playoff appearance.