Kent Bazemore circled this date.
The Hawks guard is looking forward to tonight’s matchup with the Lakers. The Hawks signed Bazemore to a two-year, $4 million contract this summer after he split last season with the Warriors and Lakers.
Bazemore excelled when given the chance late in the season with the Lakers. In 23 games, he averaged 13.1 points and 3.1 assists. His season ended abruptly after he tore a tendon in his right foot that required surgery in April. The Lakers declined to offer Bazemore a $1.1 million qualifying offer and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent.
“I marked this game on my calendar,” Bazemore said Tuesday morning with a smile. “Any player that leaves a team, they always mark these games. Last year it was against the Warriors and I got hurt right before. That kind of crushed me a little bit. It’s going to be fun.
“You mark it but you don’t treat it like it’s big or you go out there and rush things and you end up playing terrible. You treat it like another game but you are locked in.”
The Hawks brought Bazemore along slowly in training camp after his foot injury. He has appeared in six game and has averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 12.2 minutes.
Bazemore did not get a chance to play with Kobe Bryant, who missed most of last season due to injury. However, he said he did spend time with the Lakers star.
“Just learning different things about the game – off the court, mental preparation before a game, just learning what he uses to separate himself, stuff I really can’t reveal because I want to use those things to my advantage,” Bazemore said of their time. “He was my favorite player until I got in the game because he is an opponent now.”