Not long after the Detroit Pistons rescinded their qualifying offer to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Los Angeles Lakers moved to sign the shooting guard to a one-year, $18 million contract.
To some, the signing was seen as a pseudo recruitment of LeBron James as the players share the same agent in Rich Paul. The merits of that can be debated, but the Lakers certainly had a need at the position.
Fast forward to this summer, and the Lakers not only signed James but also re-signed Caldwell-Pope to another one-year contract. During one of his many interviews over the past two months, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson intimated the deals were completed concurrently.
Caldwell-Pope isn’t resting on the fact he now gets to play with James, however, and among the areas he’s focused on is improving from behind the arc, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Stay in the gym and keep working on it. Try to be better than 38 percent. That’s what I’ve been telling myself and telling my coaches. I’m going to try to be better than last year.”
Despite rocky stretches, Caldwell-Pope shot 38.3 percent from three-point territory last season. It was good for third on the team among qualified players. Josh Hart led the Lakers by shooting 39.6 percent from deep, and he was followed by Brandon Ingram at 39 percent.
While much has been made about the Lakers’ roster around James and the lack of a prototypical knockdown shooter, Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have dismissed any concern. They’ve argued attempting to beat the Golden State Warriors at their own game is a lost battle, and therefore the Lakers have constructed a versatile roster.
And with that, Johnson and Pelinka are confident the young core will take a step forward in their shooting, and that James and Rajon Rondo will help create better opportunities, lending to improved percentages across the board.