While other teams were hunting big fish like Kevin Durant, the Houston Rockets' No. 1 target was the Hawks shooting guard/small forward Kent Bazemore. The team went all in on the defensive specialist, including bringing Hakeem Olajuwon and Cycle Drexler on the trip to recruit Bazemore. Houston also offered top monetary value contract. But in the end, Bazemore decided to return to the Hawks with newly acquired Dwight Howard in tow.
BREAKING: Kent Bazemore agrees to a 4-year, $70 million agreement with the Atlanta Hawks. Player option on the last year, per league source.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 2, 2016
Rockets also offered Bazemore four years, $70 million, a person close to Bazemore said. He said Rockets were "really, really close."— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 2, 2016
Bazemore, 27, went undrafted out of Old Dominion but worked his way to being a fixture with the Hawks. During the 2015-16 season, he averaged 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game in 27.8 minutes.
The loss of Bazemore is a major black eye to the Rockets' offseason gameplan. If Houston's full court press for what basically amounts to a secondary player couldn't bring home the goods, what does that mean for Al Horford?
The Hawks don't have space to keep Bazemore, Horford, and Howard. Thus, Horford will be signing with another team. All of the other suitors for Horford will be a level playing field and offer him the max. How exactly are the Rockets tempting if they couldn't even convince Horford's team to come to Houston?
The Rockets are taking to Ryan Anderson per Jonathan Feigen, that appears to be plan B for the Rockets. As of right now, the Rockets and fans will have to set their sights much lower in this free agency class.