The Los Angeles Lakers went into free agency with key contributors Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris and Rajon Rondo no longer under contract with the team.
Bradley, Caldwell-Pope and Rondo each hit the open market after declining their respective player option for the 2020-21 season. JaVale McGee faced the same decision but elected to exercise his option and remain with the team.
As free agency began and the Lakers quickly worked to solidify their roster, it became more apparent Bradley and Rondo would not return. They wound up agreeing to contracts with the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, respectively, on Saturday.
Amid reports of the Lakers and Caldwell-Pope having mutual interest, the New York Knicks were also said to be in pursuit of the guard. However, Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers ultimately came to terms on a three-year contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 22, 2020
The Lakers’ roster for next season now appears all but set. The team already completed a trade for Dennis Schroder and have reached agreements with Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell. Though, L.A. still needs to find a backup center due to Howard joining the Philadelphia 76ers.
Pelinka sought to improve Lakers roster
Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka acknowledged a tendency to want to retain the same roster from a championship season, but he expressed a belief of looking to improve wherever possible.
Pelinka noted other teams would likely be looking to make changes as well, and the Lakers could not and would not get complacent. He appears to have threaded the needle with improving the team and preserving much of its continuity.
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