ESPN Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources said. He is expected to have a significant role with the Lakers, who recruited him hard after he became an unrestricted free agent last week. The deal will enable Caldwell-Pope to re-enter the market in 2018, when the salary cap is expected to rise and there will be a strong market for shooting guards. Caldwell-Pope, 24, had the option of taking a $4.9 million one-year qualifying offer with the Detroit Pistons before they renounced his rights last week. This deal makes him one of the top 10 highest-paid shooting guards in the league. It’s a coup for the Lakers, who made landing a difference-making player such as Caldwell-Pope a priority with their remaining cap space, while also preserving flexibility for next summer.
This is an excellent signing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a streaky shooter, but he’s a great athlete and solid defender who should log serious minutes next to Lonzo Ball in the Lakers starting backcourt. Lonzo Ball will get KCP open looks, he will make KCP better, and on a national stage with the Lakers KCP should put himself in position for a long term deal next summer if he plays well. Of course that deal likely will not come from the Lakers, signing KCP on a one year deal is huge for the future of the Lakers organization, because it leaves the team with cap space next summer to sign Paul George and chase LeBron James. When you see the New York Knicks sign Tim Hardaway Jr to a four year $71 million dollar contract, and then see the Lakers sign a similar player like KCP (Hardaway better offensively, KCP better defensively) to a one year $18 million deal a few days later it looks like a bigger win for the Lakers. With Brook Lopez, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, KCP and Lonzo Ball as their starting five and a few pieces off the bench, the Lakers will be competitive in 2017-2018, not a playoff team in the loaded West but competitive. That draft pick that thy lose in the 2018 NBA Draft should not be top five, if it’s a late lottery pick, losing it does not seem quite as bad.