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Summer League Surprise Kent Bazemore Earns Contract with Warriors

If you watched the last three games of the Warriors’ summer league, you probably noticed guard Kent Bazemore. He was all over the place on defense (one game registering 7 blocks), he has a nice slingshot left jumper and he can handle the ball a little bit.

He was good enough to get a two-year deal from the Warriors.

Bazemore – a 6-foot-5, 195-pound swingman out of Old Dominion – played his way onto the Warriors roster. According to sources, he’s on the verge of signing a two-year, partially guaranteed deal for the league minimum. HoopsHype first reported the deal. To be sure, his deal has a “very low” guarantee, one source said, which means if the Warriors decide to cut Bazemore it won’t cost them very much. But here is how you know how well Bazemore played: the Warriors signed him despite not really having a place to play.

They already have Klay Thompson and Brandon Rush (assuming he re-signs) as shooting guards. Both Jarrett Jack and Stephen Curry are also expected to get some time at shooting guard. But the Warriors still felt like they may have found something in Bazemore. Warriors general manager Bob Myers and his staff have been collecting assets and talent all summer, regardless of position. This is another such acquisition.

“Guys like that, they make it impossible not to keep him,” Myers said of Bazemore in a phone interview Monday. “You can’t cut him, for whatever reason. He falls into the category of a guy who you just want to keep around.”

It may be a bit of a surprise that Bazemore chose the Warriors. No doubt, several teams saw the way Bazemore performed in summer league. You’d figure a team with more opportunity for him might be more appealing. But Golden State’s summer league squad had quite the camaraderie. And Bazemore, after Klay Thompson sat down following the first two games, was a big part of it. He stood out in practice, and when he got into the games he really produced.

Of course, the Warriors are more impressed by his defense. He’s long and pretty agile. But his activity level on that end is so high. And you can tell by his timing, his spacing, that he has good instincts on that end. Golden State has two potent offensive forces starting in the backcourt. If Bazemore makes the team, he and Jack could give the Warriors two potent defensive forces coming off the bench.

“He just played winning basketball,” Myers said. “He made little plays. He got stops. Rebounded. Blocked shots. All those things.”

The signing of Bazemore won’t impact the Warriors’ ability to sign re-sign swingman Brandon Rush AND sign one more free agent.

Golden State is still waiting to sign second-round pick Draymond Green, who’s been guaranteed a roster spot. He’ll come after they sign their last free agent and he may take up part of the mid-level exception.

Marcus Thompson