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Kent Bazemore Adapting to Life in Portland

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New Blazers beat writer Jamie Goldberg explains why one of Portland’s newest players is as happy as he’s ever been.

2019-20 Portland Trail Blazers Media Day Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

When the Portland Trail Blazers traded Evan Turner to the Atlanta Hawks, they knew what kind of player they were getting; solid defender, good shooter, had a down year last season.

But what is Bazemore like off the court? The Oregonian/Oregon Live’s Jamie Goldberg caught up with Bazemore and talked to him about fatherhood, how he’s adapting to Portland, and the balance between life and basketball:

Things changed in the spring of 2019. Not only was his son born in May, but, a few weeks later, his wife’s mother, Cyndy, passed away after a battle with breast cancer. Suddenly, Bazemore couldn’t allow himself to be absorbed by basketball 24/7. He had to focus on his family.

“I knew my family always needed me to kind of be there for them and be a backbone, but after seeing that and seeing the things my wife went through and is going through, I really realized how much more they needed me, how much more I had to give,” Bazemore said. “I would stop at nothing to take care of my family.”

Bazemore hasn’t lost his competitive edge and he still continues to feed off the same underdog mentality that motivated him as a young player, but he is now approaching basketball with a new perspective.

Bazemore said he’s adapting to life in the Pacific Northwest:

“It feels good here,” Bazemore said. “The scenery is just amazing on the mind, when you leave practice, all the canopy trees. I live in Lake Oswego, so I got a nice view of the lake. It’s so serene... Everyone is happy, man. It’s all smiles. We’re thriving here.”

Damian Lillard and Terry Stotts had high praise for Bazemore as well:

“He feels like it’s a fresh start and he’s excited to be here,” Lillard said. “The last few weeks, his playmaking, his defense, he’s been matching up against me every opportunity he can get, his ability to shoot the ball, his understanding, he’s a vet out there... You can tell he’s going to be very present for the team.”

“He’s a consummate pro,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “He knows how to play the game. He’s a smart player, he’s a dynamic athlete... He’s fit in really well here. He’s got a great personality. He meshes well with the veterans and the young guys.”

You can read Goldberg’s entire piece here.