On the long list of disappointments from the 2021-22 Lakers season, Kent Bazemore will rank near the top on the list. While he didn’t come in with the expectations of someone like Russell Westbrook, Bazemore was a capable starter with the Warriors, and came to the Lakers after turning down more money from Golden State.
However, Bazemore never found any rhythm, nor did he make much of an impact this season before falling out of the rotation fairly early on in the year. The result was, after playing in the Lakers' first 13 games and 16 of the first 17, Bazemore played just 23 times across their final 66 matchups.
Despite that, Bazemore apparently is open to a return to the team. Caught in the airport by TMZ — because where else would TMZ find someone — Bazemore was asked if he’s interested in coming back to Los Angeles next season.
“A lot goes into that, but I’ll say there’s nothing much better than being a Laker, right? So getting to see Kobe’s numbers on the wall every day I went to practice was good inspiration for me to continue to push through. There’s nothing like it, man. It’s a storied franchise.”
Going a step further, he said there is still an appeal to playing for the Lakers, at least for him.
“Oh for sure, 100%, yes sir. To wear that across your chest every day, it means a lot.”
And realistically, maybe a wing player that was unplayable on a team desperate for wings should be open to returning, as he likely isn’t going to have a load of suitors next season. Perhaps in a different system with a different coach, Bazemore could find a way to play more games and be more productive, but there were few encouraging signs he produced this past season.
The decision may not be up to Bazemore at the end of the day anyway. The LA Times previously reported that the Lakers likely won’t bring back Bazemore which, again, makes sense. The Lakers aren’t going to want to run it back with a player who was unplayable most of the year.
So as much fun as the story of Bazemore returning back to Los Angeles was, it’s likely going to be a short-lived tale, that won’t have nearly as fun of a conclusion as the last go-round.