LOS ANGELES — In the middle of the Dwight Howard circus, Steve Blake stood outside of the Lakers locker room just over an hour before tipoff on Wednesday night.
He shook hands with Lakers players and staff as they walked back and forth from the locker room to the floor for pregame warm-ups. Blake wouldn’t be joining them. He was departing Staples Center after learning he’d been traded to the Golden State Warriors for wing Kent Bazemore and guard MarShon Brooks, according to reports.
"Real mixed emotions," Blake told the Los Angeles Times. "The hardest thing really is my family. Now I’m going to have to spend four months probably away from them."
In a twist of irony, it was Blake who made the game winning shot for the Lakers in Houston to lift them to a win in their first meeting against Howard as a member of the Rockets. In Howard’s first time in Staples Center to take on the Lakers, it’s Blake who won’t have the opportunity to duplicate that success from last November, learning he was no longer a member of the team just minutes prior to tipoff.
Steve Blake just acknowledged he's been traded, says he'll miss L.A. Didn't rule out returning to Lakers in free agency in July.
Jordan Hill, another member of the Lakers rumored to be involved in trade talks, participated in pregame warm-ups. As he signed autographs for fans on his way back to the locker room, Hill was asked if he was playing tonight.
"I’ll be out there," Hill said to the fans.
Hill has been rumored to be headed to Brooklyn in a move that will help the Lakers cut their luxury tax bill.
Blake is in the last year of a deal that is paying him four million this season. Bazemore and Brooks’ contracts equate to nearly $2.1 million and are both expiring deals.
Hill, also in the last season of his deal, is making $3.5 million this season.
After the Blake trade, the Lakers are just under six million over the luxury tax. A move of Hill, which at this point seems imminent, could move the club to just over two million above the luxury tax.
At that rate, the team will be required to pay $1.50 for every $1 they are over.