The Los Angeles Lakers finally made a marquee free agent signing in 2017 by adding guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Caldwell-Pope was previously a Detroit Piston as they drafted him with the 8th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Nonetheless, Detroit renounced his restricted-free agent rights after they won the trade sweepstakes for Boston G Avery Bradley.
Still, the 24-year-old guard signed a one-year, $19 million deal with the Purple and Gold. The Lakers wanted to maintain cap space so a one-year deal was necessary. They had a similar interest in George Hill and Dion Waters but other NBA teams offered them long-term deals.
Caldwell-Pope should help the Lakers sure up their defense. He is an athletic and scrappy guard who is capable of defending opposing teams’ best backcourt player. He averages about 3 rebounds and a steal for his career.
On offense, Caldwell-Pope is a career 33 percent three-point shooter. He shot 35 percent in the same category last season. Brook Lopez and Julius Randle pounding in the post will create some shooting opportunities for Caldwell-Pope like the ones he was used to in Detroit. However, he could become one of the focal points of L.A.’s offense.
Let’s not forget Caldwell-Pope is suspended two games for a March DUI incident. Hopefully, he can handle calling an uber in Los Angeles as drinking and driving are nothing to play with especially with priors.
Otherwise, this could turn into only a one-year deal. Caldwell-pope could play himself into a huge contract next season. The expiring contract also makes him a movable asset for the Lakers during the season.
This might be a pro in some people’s eyes as the Lakers have the flexibility to sign a marquee free agent next year. But what if he flourishes in Los Angeles? He will bounce and the Lakers will be left with a void at the two-guard.
Not to mention, it remains to be seen how he will mesh with the Lakers young core. How will his one-year presence impact the development of the Lakers young players?
Ultimately, Caldwell-Pope will go down as the smart marquee free agent addition of the 2017 offseason. However, Lakers fans must ask themselves if this really makes them a better basketball team in the long-term and short-term future. Rate the Lakers’ signing of Caldwell-Pope in the poll above.