Kentavious Caldwell-Pope emerged as one of the crucial role players for the Los Angeles Lakers on their journey to the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.
The 27-year-old successfully replaced Avery Bradley as one of the main perimeter defenders and posed a significant threat from behind the 3-point line. He averaged 29 minutes and 10.7 points per game, shooting 37.8% during the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Caldwell-Pope stepped up in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, receiving high praise from Anthony Davis and LeBron James for his clutch performances in Games 1 and 4. Following his successful postseason performance, questions arose over what Caldwell-Pope would do with his $8.5 million player option for the 2020-21 season.
And according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Caldwell-Pope will opt out of the contract to test his value in free agency this year, although his return to the Lakers is not ruled out:
After establishing himself as a key player heading into next season, Caldwell-Pope is expected to decline his $8.5 million player option, sources said. There’s significant mutual interest between Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers, but there will be some external suitors.
Since arriving in L.A. in 2017, Caldwell-Pope has twice re-signed with the Lakers, who have full Bird Rights on him. That means they can offer any salary up to the max level even if they will lack necessary cap space.
Davis, Rajon Rondo expected to opt out of contract
Similarly, Rajon Rondo and Davis are reportedly going to decline their player options for next season after showing impressive form in the playoffs.
But Davis is expected to re-sign with the Lakers, although the duration of the contract is not clear yet.
Meanwhile, Rondo is likely to attract interest from other teams around the league. The Lakers are said to be interested in bringing the veteran guard back.
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