LA Lakers trade point guard Steve Blake to Warriors for Brooks and Bazemore

February 20, 2014

It appears the reality of a lost season is starting to set in for the Los Angeles Lakers' management, as General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced that the team traded veteran point guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for young guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.

The Warriors couldn't be happier.

“The acquisition of Steve Blake will provide us with additional veteran depth at point guard as we enter the stretch run of the season,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “He’s had a productive career and is a player who can both run an offense and has the ability to shoot the basketball. On the other hand, we thank Kent and MarShon for their contributions to our team both on and off the court and wish them success as they enter the next stage of their careers.”

With a banged up roster, no Kobe Bryant, and the team sitting well below .500, the Lakers had no genuine chance at a title run, or even making the playoffs. As such, the Lakers brass should have been shipping off its assets weeks ago and setting the franchise up for the future with draft picks.

Blake, a favorite of Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni and a respected guy in the locker room, averaged 9.5 points and career-highs with 7.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game in 27 games (all starts) with the Lakers this season. However, the 33-year-old also missed 26 games with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow -- an injury he still is slowly trying to overcome.

The main benefit of the deal for LA is cap relief, as Blake's four million dollar salary is double that of Bazemore and Brooks. Hence, the Lakers will save 4 million in luxury taxes.

As for Bazemore and Brooks, both are young and unproven, although Brooks is the more interesting prospect of the two given his potential ability to score and create his own shot.

During Brooks' rookie year with New Jersey in 2011-12, the 6’5” swingman averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 56 games (47 starts), earning All-Rookie Second Team honors.

In Bazemore's two NBA seasons (both with the Warriors), the undrafted free agent from Old Dominion holds averages of 2.1 points in 5.1 minutes per game over 105 contests.

As for the Warriors, the deal seems to be a smart move for several reasons.

First, the acquisition of Blake fills a need at the backup point guard spot behind Stephen Curry. The Warriors have been looking for someone to fill that role ever since Jarrett Jack left the team and signed with Cleveland.

 The Warriors recently dealt for Jordan Crawford in the hope that he might step up and fill the void, but he is too much of natural scorer, rather than the distributor they wanted.  In Blake, Golden State will gain a scrappy defender, a pass-first lead guard, and a decent outside shooter.

Second, the team still will remain under the cap, as Blake's salary will be absorbed by a trade exception the Warriors had.

Third, the loss of Bazemore and Brooks will not significantly impact Golden State's second unit. Both saw time in the D-League, and neither player put up monster numbers off the bench. Brooks was not a regular part of the Warriors rotation.

For the Lakers, this might be the first of multiple deals prior to Thursday's trade deadline. Jordan Hill has been rumored to be part of trade talks with Brooklyn, while Pau Gasol has been rumored to be a potential trade target of the Phoenix Suns.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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