The Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely quiet this entire offseason, preaching patience as they looked to preserve their salary cap space for 2018. They had been mentioned as possibilities for a number of players, but the most recent, and arguably most intriguing, was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Once the Detroit Pistons renounced his rights making him an unrestricted free agent, the Lakers immediately became interested. As with all other players they were looking at, Caldwell-Pope would have to be willing to take a one-year contract.
He did exactly that as Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that the Lakers and Caldwell-Pope have agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Lakers, sources tell ESPN.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 12, 2017
This is a huge signing for the Lakers as Caldwell-Pope fills a major hole at the shooting guard position and brings the two things the Lakers have said they are looking for in shooting and defense. Caldwell-Pope can be a spot-up shooter, attacks well off the dribble, and is capable of guarding the other team’s best guard.
Caldwell-Pope is also only 24 years old so he fits in with the youth of the Lakers and has plenty of room for growth, much like the Lakers other top players such as Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.
Though it is only a one-year deal, the Lakers could decide to keep Caldwell-Pope around long term next summer. The team will have a lot of salary cap room and will be much more willing to offer long-term deals.
For now, the Lakers have finally made their first move of free agency and now fans will wait to see if another one is on the way. In addition to meeting with Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers also met with Rajon Rondo who has long been a rumored possibility and may also be on his way to Los Angeles.