Although the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to make a few moves before today’s NBA Trade Deadline at noon, they only struck a deal with the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers sent point guard Steve Blake to the Warriors for shooting guards MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore.
For the most part, it was an unexpected trade. Rumors had been swirling that the Lakers would trade Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill– but that didn’t happen.
Steve Blake had been with the Lakers for nearly four seasons and was a great asset during Nash’s injury absence. In the 27 games he played this season with the Lakers, he averaged 9.5 points, 7.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting almost 40% from behind the arc.
This move was all about shedding salary. Chances are, the Lakers didn’t want to trade Blake and will likely make a move to get him back during free agency in July. By trading Blake, the Lakers saved nearly $3.5 million on their luxury tax bill. After he had found out about the trade, Blake said, “Real mixed emotions. The hardest thing really is my family. Now I’m going to have to spend four months probably away from them”.
However, Blake has gone from a team that isn’t a playoff contender to a team that will most likely make the playoffs this season and contend for a title. With names like Stephen Curry, David Lee, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, just to name a few, the Warriors and Steve Blake actually have a chance to go to the NBA Finals and win.
Although, the Lakers lost one of their best players this season, the addition of Bazemore and Brooks makes this team a bit younger and more fitting for D’Antoni’s offense.
Kent Bazemore is a 24-year-old shooting guard who is in his second season in the NBA. Bazemore hasn’t had a lot of playing time in the NBA, but he does have a promising future. In 2011, when he was playing college basketball at Old Dominion, he won the Lefty Driesell Award, given to the best defensive player in all of college basketball. (Note: The Lakers desperately need a defensive player). This season, Bazemore averaged 6.1 minutes with the Warriors with 2.3 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Luckily for Bazemore, the Lakers’ roster isn’t as stacked as the Warriors which means he will get more playing time and have the opportunity to showcase his skills.
MarShon Brooks, like Bazemore is a 6’5” shooting guard. He is in his third year in the NBA and was drafted 25th overall by the Boston Celtics in 2011. (Bazemore was undrafted). Immediately after he was drafted he was sent to the Brooklyn Nets where he spent his first two season until he was traded to the Celtics in the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade. Last month, he was traded to the Golden State Warriors.
In the 7 games he played for the Warriors, he averaged 2.1 minutes, 1.9 points and 0.7 rebounds per game. However, don’t judge Brooks based off these numbers. In his rookie season with the Nets, Brooks averaged 29.4 minutes, 12.6 points, 2.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Since his rookie season, his production has decreased as a result of less playing time. However, that should be less of an issue with the Lakers. He will most likely play with the second unit as a scorer to put points on the board off the bench. Brooks can have a real opportunity to shine under D’Antoni’s offense just like former D-Leaguer Kendall Marshall has thus far.
The Steve Blake trade wasn’t one that was rumored, however the addition of Bazemore and Brooks might just be the first step towards rebuilding this Lakers’ franchise and building a team with young players which will help the Lakers in the future.
As a Lakers fan, I have always believed in Mitch Kupchak and his vision for this team. I have no doubt that he knows what he is doing and that the Lakers are headed in the right direction as they continue to rebuild heading into the 2014 NBA Draft.