Sources: Kent Bazemore to return to Hawks

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Kent Bazemore is staying with the Hawks. (AP)
Kent Bazemore is staying with the Hawks. (AP)

Free-agent guard Kent Bazemore has reached an agreement on a four-year, $70 million deal to return to the Atlanta Hawks, league sources told The Vertical.

The fourth year of the deal is a player option, sources said.

With the Hawks reaching deals with Dwight Howard and now Bazemore, it could signal the end of center Al Horford's tenure in Atlanta.

The Hawks and Horford have reached an impasse in contract talks that have been ongoing, league sources said. Horford has been seeking a five-year, $153 million maximum contract with the Hawks, or a four-year, $113.6 million-plus contract elsewhere, sources said.

Horford met with four teams, including Boston, Houston and Washington on Friday, sources said. The Hawks’ decision to sign Howard and bring back Bazemore “makes it more difficult obviously, but doesn’t rule out” a Horford return, one source involved in the process told The Vertical.

The Hawks would have to unload several salaries, including that of forward Paul Millsap. Nevertheless, Hawks president and coach Mike Budenholzer and general manager Wes Wilcox made the move on Howard believing that they had to build a roster with or without Horford.

The Hawks still believe that Horford wants to continue his career with Atlanta, but there’s a gulf in money now and it’s unclear where the sides can bridge the gap.

Horford plans to take the weekend to make his decision, league sources said.

Bazemore, one of the most appealing free agents on the market, decided to stay with Atlanta after meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks. Bazemore rejected a four-year, $72 million offer from the Lakers, sources said.

He averaged 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 75 games for Atlanta last season.

Bazemore, 26, is a self-made NBA success story after going undrafted in 2012 and earning a multi-million-dollar contract in free agency. His rise in the league began in 2014, when the Golden State Warriors traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 23 games under then-coach Mike D’Antoni, Bazemore posted solid numbers while averaging 28 minutes per game.

After a successful showcase with the Lakers, Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Hawks, further carving his niche in the NBA with an Eastern Conference contender.

Bazemore played four seasons at Old Dominion.

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