As he faced the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, Darius Bazley admitted that taking an exit from his former team shocked him.
Bazley, who was shipped by Thunder to the Phoenix Suns last trade deadline, told Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman that given the bond he created with the club, leaving Oklahoma City was tough to process.
“It was kind of tough,” Bazley said of the trade. “When it first happened, it was one of those moments when you’re like, ‘Dang.’ That’s all I knew. A lot of those guys, I’ve been with them since I first came here.
“In the NBA, your teammates and staff, you spend more time with them than you do your own families.”
Bazley started his career in OKC after being drafted in 2019. Spending 3 ½ seasons to the team, he enjoyed a solid year in 2020-21 upon averaging a career-high 13.7 points and 7.2 boards in 55 games (all starts).
But his numbers gradually dipped following this solid season. This 2022-23 prior to being traded, he tallied 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 13.4 minutes on average.
This weekend against the Thunder is just the third game he was activated by coach Monty Williams to the team. Bazley logged seven minutes and drained a three-pointer.
“He’s just a really good kid,” Williams said of Bazley. “I know you tend to use that phrase with a lot of NBA players, but I mean that. He’s a good guy.
“He understands where he is in our program. I’ve talked to him a couple times about how tough it is for him to be traded to a team like our’s that has a number of guys in his spot. He hasn’t been given a fair shot, a shot, anything you want to call it, he hasn’t been given that. But he works his tail off.”