Travis Schlenk has been a busy man this offseason, wheeling and dealing whenever an opportunity presents itself. He acquired two extra first-round picks for taking on the contract of Allen Crabbe from the Nets, made two trades during the draft, and today, swapped the rights to Kent Bazemore for Evan Turner – this initially reported by ESPN.
Portland is trading Evan Turner to Atlanta for Kent Bazemore, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2019
At best, this looks like a lateral move for the Hawks, which is why it’s a bit surprising there was no other compensation involved. While Bazemore hasn’t lived up to his gaudy deal, he has been a pristine teammate and locker room presence in his tenure with Atlanta. But that alone was not enough to justify keeping him around for the final year of his contract.
Even Turner is also on an expiring deal and scheduled to make $18.6 million next year – about $600,00 0 less than Bazemore. He is coming off a season in which he averaged 6.8 points for the Blazers, the lowest amount of his nine-year career. Turner did shoot 46% from the field, however, and can be a valuable presence off the bench.
The most important detail of this trade might be what it means for the Hawks new rookies – Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter. With Bazemore now out of the picture, and Turner likely to come off the bench, the two could begin the year as starters. Lloyd Pierce showed no hesitation starting Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and even Omari Spellman at times as rookies. At the very least, expect one rookie in the starting lineup come opening night.