Lakers' Blake to Warriors: 'Mixed emotions'
Lakers guard Steve Blake has been traded to the Golden State Warriors, he told reporters as he left the team's Los Angeles facility in street clothes on Wednesday night.
"Mixed emotions, really," Blake said after changing into street clothes and exiting the arena less than an hour before tip-off of Wednesday night's game against the Houston Rockets after being informed of the trade. "I knew it could happen but didn't expect it to happen, all at the same time."
Blake's $4 million salary will be absorbed by Golden State's trade exception created when the Warriors dealt Brandon Rush to the Utah Jazz last July. Brooks and Bazemore combine to make $2 million, meaning the trade will save the Lakers $4 million in salary and luxury tax implications.
Lakers sources told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne there is a strong chance power forward Jordan Hill is also moved before Thursday's trade deadline, with the Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks having registered interest in him.
"The hardest thing is really for my family, really," Blake said. "I got a wife, three little kids and now I'm going to have to spend four months, probably, away from them and so that's going to be the hardest part."
Blake called the 31-22 Warriors a "really, really good team" but was unsure what his role would be.
"The acquisition of Steve Blake will provide us with additional veteran depth at point guard as we enter the stretch run of the season," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in a statement. "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."
Blake, who signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2010 while the team geared up for a potential threepeat, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and said he would consider returning to the Lakers on a new deal.
"Absolutely," Blake said. "I've loved my time here. When you spend [time] in some place this long, you start to get comfortable. We loved where we lived, loved the schools my kids were in and always loved the support of the fans and ownership and everybody. So, it's one of the best places I've ever played at and if in the future they wanted me back, I would absolutely, definitely consider it."
Blake said he was given no indication when he arrived at the arena or at shootaround that he would be traded.
"I was in my warm-ups, my uniform. I was ready to go," said Blake, who was told the news in coach Mike D'Antoni's office about 75 minutes before the game. "It's a tough situation but it is what it is and I'm ready to start something new."
The Warriors mark the seventh team Blake will play for in his 11-year career after coming into the league as a second-round draft pick by Washington in 2003.
A slew of injuries ranging from his elbow to his groin, to fractured ribs, to even a bout with chicken pox plagued his time in Los Angeles. But Blake had his moments with the Lakers -- most memorably scoring 19 points in Game 7 of the Lakers' first-round playoff series win over the Denver Nuggets in 2012 and making a game-winning 3-pointer in Houston to beat the Rockets in L.A.'s first game against Dwight Howard after he left the team."He was a joy to coach," D'Antoni said. "I think every coach should have an opportunity to coach somebody like that. He was one of the toughest guys that I've ever coached, and he's good. Any team that wants to win, he'll be a nice piece. ... Steve's a good player. He's going to a team where he'll play a lot and they'll love him. ... It's disappointing to everybody [in L.A.], but that's the business of the game."
Pau Gasol concurred with D'Antoni via Twitter.
Tough to see a great player, friend and professional get traded tonight. My best wishes @SteveBlake5 , the Warriors are lucky to have you.- Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 20, 2014
Blake averaged 9.5 points and career-highs of 7.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds for the Lakers this season, but has appeared in just 27 games (all starts) because of a right elbow injury.
Golden State is counting on the 33-year-old veteran to bolster a bench that has been searching for a proven ball-handler since Jarrett Jack left for Cleveland in free agency last summer. The Warriors acquired Jordan Crawford and Brooks from Boston in a three-team trade on Jan. 15. Golden State sent struggling backup Toney Douglas to Miami in that deal.
Crawford has been, at times, a prolific scorer but is still learning how to be a better distributor and playmaker on a Warriors team that has plenty of shooters. He entered Wednesday averaging 6.3 points and 2.2 assists in his first 13 games with the Warriors after starting for the Celtics while Rajon Rondo was injured.
Brooks appeared in just seven games with the Warriors and never caught on in Mark Jackson's rotation. Bazemore, best known for his animated cheering on Golden State's bench, also struggled in limited action the past two seasons.
Both had split time with the team's NBA Development League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, but should get more of an opportunity with the rebuilding Lakers. Both Bazemore's and Brooks' contracts expire at the end of the season.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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