The Summer of 2016 will always be remembered by NBA fans as the year that everyone got overpaid and two guys that received contracts during that offseason have now been moved for each other as the Portland Trail Blazers sent forward Evan Turner to the Hawks for swingman Kent Bazemore. The deal was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
I think this is a great deal for both teams because it serves its purpose for both sides. Let’s take a look at the deal from each teams perspective.
Evan Turner has not fit into what Portland does offensively since he started wearing a Blazers jersey. He can’t shoot the three and while he can handle the ball enough to run the second unit, the Portland second unit didn’t exactly excel when he was running it and he was never able to play with Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum on the floor because he didn’t space the floor and when one of them is on the floor the offense is going to run through them.
Now Turner does deserve some credit because Portland did make a Western Conference Finals with him and he played a huge role in that having a huge fourth quarter in game seven against Denver, but for much of the rest of the playoffs his inability to mesh with the Portland offense really stood out.
Kent Bazemore however will fit into this offense much better. He is a career 35.2% three-point shooter during his career on 3.0 attempts per game, while Evan Turner is a career 29.6% three-point shooter and he only shot 27.8% from deep during three years in Portland.
A big-time need for Portland this offseason was to address the need on the wing and this is a big step in addressing that. Bazemore can play either the two or the three and as I mentioned already he can shoot the ball decently and three-point shooting is something Portland also needed this offseason.
Defensively Bazmemore and Turner rate out really evenly, although Turner does have more defensive win shares in his career by a decent amount during his career, he has also played two more full seasons and Turner played legit minutes at the start of his career while Bazemore didn’t.
Salary-wise this deal doesn’t make an impact. Both Turner and Bazmore have inflated deals but they are also both heading into the last season of their deals, so the money doesn’t play a factor in this deal.
This will also help Portland cover for the likely departures of Rodney Hood and Seth Curry this offseason after they likely earned themselves solid paydays.
I love this trade for Portland mostly because it addresses the need at wing and in the backcourt. I loved their draft pick of Nassir Little, but he won’t be ready to go this season and Kent Bazemore will be and it’s not a long-term commitment to Bazemore because his deal expires at the end of the season.
I love this deal for different reasons. Adding Evan Turner shouldn’t make a big difference on the court, although adding his veteran presence could be a good thing around all of the young players on the Hawks roster.
The main reason I LOVE this move for Atlanta though is because they have a nice set of young players on their team with Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and having just drafted De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish and now they will have just under $70 million in expiring contracts on their team this season and they are already looking like they will go into this season with cap space, so they could be set up to add a big-time free agent next season.
You already hear about a lot of NBA players loving Atlanta as a city, but if you add a core that looks like it could be primed for some great runs going forward and a possible max contract, the Hawks are a team to watch how they develop this season and then what they might be able to do next offseason because they can either go out and sign a big free agent or take on a huge contract in a trade for a difference-maker.
A lot of the times general managers go into a job just trying to create job security but you have to credit Travis Schlenk because he is going all-in trying to build a great young core and creating cap space, so even though they haven’t won a ton of games since he took over, there’s a clear plan in place.
Atlanta has just under $14.5 million in contracts committed to next season and their four highest-paid players (Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee) are all set to come off the books after this season.
Both teams should be commended for this deal. Evan Turner has been someone that Portland has needed to move for a couple of years now and they are now able to move him and while they didn’t clear any cap space for this offseason in the deal, I personally think they did better than that because they added a player who should really help them in the backcourt because they are looking at the likelihood of losing Seth Curry and Rodney Hood.
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