Caldwell-Pope going to Lakers

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers get a very strong two-way player without handcuffing themselves in free agency down the line.

Late Tuesday night, they agreed to a one-year deal worth $18 million with shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to several people who were not authorized to speak publicly. KCP is likely on his way to that level, but Bradley is already there, and significantly cheaper than what the Pistons anticipated having to pay Caldwell-Pope.

Caldwell-Pope is an unrestricted free agent after the Detroit Pistons pulled their qualifying offer to the four-year National Basketball Association veteran last week once it became apparent they no longer had the cap flexibility to match an offer sheet since Detroit has a hard cap for the upcoming season. Caldwell-Pope is young and could look for a long-term deal with more money over the span of it, while Rondo is 31 and will probably wind up signing a one-year deal wherever he ends up going.


Caldwell-Pope was never supposed to be an unrestricted free agent, but the Pistons added Avery Bradley via trade and KCP became expendable.

Caldwell-Pope will miss the first two games of the 2017-18 season after the National Basketball Association suspended him last month following his guilty plea to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Auburn Hills, Mich. Do they need to sign a veteran such as Rondo to help tutor Ball? Offensively, he improved as a shooter last season, hitting career highs in 3-point percentage (35) and 3s per game (two), while making 37.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s, which is impressive by his previous standards.

He saved face during the playoffs, when he averaged 11.5 points, 10 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game in two wins over the Celtics to begin the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Caldwell-Pope has a lot to offer to a team and is someone who has been able to stay relatively healthy, only missing a handful of games. Even still, the expectations for what role Rondo would play with the Lakers is an interesting topic. If the things work out the way both sides are hoping to, Caldwell-Pope might be in Lakers uniform for more than one season.

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