When the Denver Nuggets hoisted up the Larry O’Brien Trophy as the 2023 NBA Champions, some former Los Angeles Lakers were able to call themselves champions as well. Thomas Bryant became an NBA Champion for the first time, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is now a two-time champion after playing a huge role for the Lakers’ 2020 title team.
As was the case this season for the Nuggets, Caldwell-Pope was a reliable role player for the Lakers in 2020, combining timely shooting with solid defense. Despite being a major contributor, the Lakers would eventually choose to trade away Caldwell-Pope to the Washington Wizards as part of the Russell Westbrook deal in 2021.
Caldwell-Pope recently spoke with Sam Amick of The Athletic and admitted that the Lakers trading him away did hurt him as he thought he would be in L.A. for a long time:
“When (the Lakers trade) happened, I was a little hurt, no doubt about that,” Caldwell-Pope said. “But I had to move on. I thought I was gonna be there (with the Lakers) for a while, especially after the championship. But it didn’t go that way. I felt like at the end of the day, business is business.
“I got a call from my good friend Brad (Beal, the day before the trade went down), and he just asked me how I would feel about playing with him. I’d (known) him since we were 15, and that’s one thing we always talked about was playing with each other. And then the next morning, it happened.”
There always comes a point in every player’s career in which they truly realize that the NBA is a business. Caldwell-Pope had done a lot for the Lakers and helped them on the road to a championship, but the front office felt their best move was to trade him away and so they did.
In the end, it worked out great for Caldwell-Pope as he got to play with his good friend for a year before being dealt to Denver and now he can call himself an NBA Champion once again.
LeBron James gives props to agent Rich Paul
It’s no secret that Caldwell-Pope has grown close to LeBron James together due to them sharing an agent in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
While Paul didn’t have to negotiate new deals for either James or Caldwell-Pope this summer, he did for a number of his other clients such as Fred VanVleet and Jerami Grant.
Paul continues to get outstanding contracts for his clients, and LeBron took to social media to give him props.
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