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Kent Bazemore agrees to a 4-year, $70 million deal with the Hawks, per report

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Bazemore was a project that the Hawks turned into a real player, and he's rewarding them by sticking around.

Kent Bazemore was once an NBA journeyman, but two solid seasons with the Atlanta Hawks made him a commodity. The 3-and-D wing will return to the Hawks on a four-year, $70 million deal, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. Bazemore reportedly turned down four-year offers of $72 million from the Lakers and Rockets to stay in Atlanta.

Bazemore cashed in after his first season as a true starter in the NBA. He broke out in 2015-16 behind career highs of 11.6 points. 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game while helping propel Atlanta to a 48-win season and a spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Old Dominion graduate took the long road to get here. He went undrafted in 2012 and spent his rookie season bouncing back and forth between Golden State and its D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz. He was traded to the Lakers in exchange for Steve Blake in 2014, and the additional playing time that came with a limited Los Angeles roster gave the crafty wing an opportunity to shine. He made 15 starts in 23 games with the Lakers and averaged more than 13 points per game in his limited tryout.

That big performance led him to a modest two-year, $4 million deal with the Hawks. By the time the calendar flipped to 2015, he was one of the NBA's biggest bargains. He showed off an improved driving game and ratcheted his two-point shooting percentage to a career high 50.2 percent, but his true value came on the other end of the court. The 6'5 swingman showed off the ability to cover guards and forwards thanks to his long arms and hyperactive defense. Bazemore ranked in the top 20 in both defensive rating and defensive win shares during his breakout 2015-16 season.

Bazemore followed a familiar path to a big contract and a key role in the NBA. DeMarre Carroll traced the same path in 2013 when he went from afterthought to starter thanks to his staunch defense with the Hawks. He turned two seasons in Atlanta into a four-year, $60 million contract with the Raptors -- clearing the way for Bazemore's big season in his fourth year as a pro. But unlike Carroll, Bazemore rewarded Atlanta: he's coming back, and he'll be around for a while.