In one of the more surprising moves in the 2017 free agency period, the Detroit Pistons renounced the rights to up and coming guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This allows him to become an unrestricted free agent. It seems the Lakers have significant interest in signing him, and Caldwell-Pope may have interest in signing a 1 year “ballooned” deal.
Sources: If Caldwell-Pope's willing to do a one-year balloon deal, the Los Angeles Lakers have significant interest in pursuing him.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2017
In a surprising twist to an already crazy free agency, Caldwell-Pope seemed locked to be a restricted free agent and even bigger lock to be a re-signed by the Piston’s. He now becomes the top free agent in a market that has significantly dried up.
After the Pistons traded Marcus Morris to the Celtics for Avery Bradley it seems they didn’t feel the need for Pope anymore. Another possibility is they got sticker shock from the 2 restricted free agents: Otto Porter Jr., who was offered a max deal by Brooklyn; and Tim Hardway Jr. who was offered a 4 year $71 million-dollar deal. Both deals are very player friendly and put both of their original teams in a really tough spot to match and resign. The Pistons may have felt that Caldwell-Pope was going to get a similar deal and just didn’t want to deal with it.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or KCP for short, is a 23-year-old shooting guard that has loads of potential. Averaging 14 points 3 assists and 3 rebounds per game, doesn’t jump out at you, but he is young and really started to come into his own last year, especially from behind the 3 point line. He shot an average 35%. However, it was his best percentage in his short career, and he shot more 3’s than he had in prior seasons. He is a solid defender that could be the perfect running mate for Lonzo Ball.
Whether the interest between KCP and the Lakers is real or it is once again leverage remains to be seen. What is known is that the Lakers are now one of the few teams with very much cap space remaining. If he is willing to take a 1 year $17 million-dollar deal from LA to possibly go bigger in 2018 he could be a perfect match for the Lakers.
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