The Los Angeles Lakers will not extend a qualifying offer of $1.1 million to Kent Bazemore, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1 when free agency officially begins, reports Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. The Lakers are angling their salary cap space to make a run at LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Bazemore joined the Lakers mid-season, along with MarShon Brooks, in exchange for Steve Blake. He saw a significant spike in his statistics over the 23 games he played in a purple and gold uniform, averaging career-highs over the small sample size. He finished the year averaging 13.1 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting overall and 37.1 percent from three-point range while playing for the Lakers.
Bazemore was undrafted out of college but landed with the Golden State Warriors, where he earned cult-hero status for his bench celebrations. He should still be an affordable option for Los Angeles once they move from trying to sign star players to filling out the remaining holes in the roster. He's earned a total of $1.2 million over the first two years of his NBA career.