The Los Angeles Lakers have quickly moved toward reshaping the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It’s featured the Lakers acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook while adding several veteran players through free agency. One of James’ newest teammates may have some awkward conversations ahead with the four-time NBA champion.
Lakers bring back Kent Bazemore
The Lakers quickly went to work in free agency, adding to the roster around their newly formed Big 3.
Los Angeles’ first four additions featured players with previous experience playing with the franchise. Among them is veteran swingman Kent Bazemore, who spent last season with the Golden State Warriors.
Bazemore played well off the bench, averaging 7.2 points on 44.9% shooting from the floor along with a career-best 40.8 clip from beyond the arc. The 32-year-old is a versatile factor defensively, defending multiple positions while stretching the floor with his shooting.
Bazemore chose to sign with the Lakers instead of taking a two-year deal from the Warriors due to believing he has a better chance to compete for an NBA title. He’s also betting on himself to showcase his ability in an increased role to earn a lucrative contract next offseason.
Before Bazemore embarks on his second stint with the Lakers, he may need to crush his previous long-lasting beef with the four-time league MVP.
LeBron James’ newest Lakers teammate held a long-lasting feud with him
Bazemore’s return to the Lakers brings an opportunity to compete for an NBA title as a potentially crucial supporting cast piece.
However, the 32-year-old’s second stint in Los Angeles quickly comes with the rehashing of his long-lasting beef with James. During Bazemore’s collegiate days at Old Dominion, he tweeted messages bashing the four-time NBA champion’s struggles in the 2010 NBA Finals that involved comparing him to the 7-11 liquor store.
“‘LeBron is equivalent to 7-11,’ he tweeted via Heavy.com. ‘He doesn’t close.’
It was one of the more mild-manner digs Bazemore took at James as he fired off a series of NSFW tweets. The conflict between the two ramped up again during the 2016 playoff series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
Bazemore embraced the angle of the two being part of rival shoe companies as he an Under Armour athlete while James is the face of Nike.
“I hope so. I hope he [James] takes it personally, because I do,” Bazemore told Hawks.com’s Kevin Chouinard.
The veteran swingman hasn’t backed down from any intense chatter, but it certainly sets up an awkward conversation with James. However, if the star forward can team up with Lance Stephenson, what’s to say he can’t mend fences with another “rival.”
Los Angeles still holds plenty of offseason moves ahead
The old feud aside, Bazemore is joining a Lakers‘ roster that will be vastly different than last year’s group.
Los Angeles is quickly moving through free agency, adding veteran talent through one-year contracts, primarily on veteran’s minimum salaries. The front office is focusing on adding shooting and defensive assets by inking Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and Malik Monk.
The Lakers don’t possess much financial flexibility, but the team is working the market to find players that fit what they desire. The team still needs to add several more players to fill out the roster around James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.
Los Angeles holds the immediate appeal as the favorites to come out of the Western Conference behind its newly formed Big 3. However, the supporting cast will need to be the difference makers.