Lakers guard Steve Blake reacts after committing a foul against the Warriors… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers began their rebuilding process Wednesday, sending versatile veteran guard Steve Blake to Golden State, The Times has learned.
The Lakers received young, seldom-used shooting guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks in return for Blake. The deal saves the Lakers almost $1 million in salary the rest of the season and about $3 million in luxury taxes.
Blake seemed stunned by the trade, which was finalized a little more than an hour before the Lakers played the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. Blake was wearing his warmups when he was told he was traded.
"Real mixed emotions," he said after giving quick goodbyes to teammates, coaches and team personnel. "The hardest thing is for my family, really. I've got a wife and three little kids and now I'm going to have to spend four months probably away from them."
Blake, 33, averaged 9.5 points and 7.6 assists in his fourth season with the Lakers. He is making $4 million this season and becomes a free agent in July. He did not rule out returning to the Lakers next season.
"Absolutely. I've loved my time here," he said. "When you spend someplace this long, you start to get comfortable and we loved where we lived and loved the schools my kids were in, always loved the support of the fans and ownership.
"This is one of the best places I've ever played at and in the future if they wanted me back, I absolutely, definitely would consider it."
Bazemore, 24, is averaging only 2.3 points in 44 games of his second NBA season. He becomes a free agent in July and is making $762,195 this season.
Brooks, 25, is averaging only 2.6 points in 17 games of his third NBA season. He was drafted by the New Jersey Nets and will be with his fourth team. Brooks is making $1.3 million and also will be a free agent in July.
Blake joins a fairly crowded backcourt with All-Star point guard Stephen Curry and up-and-coming shooting guard Klay Thompson. The Warriors also acquired reserve guard Jordan Crawford recently from Boston. Former All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala has also logged time in the Warriors' backcourt.
"I'm going to obviously a really, really good team," Blake said. "How I fit in, I don't know. But we'll figure it out. I've got a lot of respect for them there and I look forward to getting to know them."
Blake thanked Coach Mike D'Antoni, who used Blake at shooting guard and point guard this season.
"I loved playing for Coach D'Antoni, the freedom he gave me as a player to go out there and be successful," Blake said. "I'm totally grateful for that."
The trade deadline is Thursday at noon Pacific time.
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