Free agency hasn’t even started and a serious threat to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ title defense has already emerged. The Milwaukee Bucks have traded for Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic which should be a big upgrade to their roster. The Golden State Warriors have the second pick in the upcoming draft which should net them either a really good young piece or used in a trade to land them a top veteran. There’s also the Brooklyn Nets who could be landing James Harden very soon.
If the Lakers hope to stay on top, they need to keep their roster strong. One way to do that is to ensure they re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Fortunately for the purple and gold, it’s already a “foregone conclusion” that he’s going to re-sign with the team, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) November 16, 2020
Rumors recently circulated that Caldwell-Pope would be “open” to offers from other teams. That could just be a negotiating tactic so that he gets more money from the Lakers. Regardless, it makes sense for him to stay in Los Angeles, especially if they lose Avery Bradley in free agency.
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Other Lakers Free Agents Who Could Return
While it looks like Caldwell-Pope will return, that doesn’t mean the Lakers can underestimate his market. They need to be ready to give him a competitive offer. Los Angeles has a lot of free agents this year and there’s a big chance they’ll lose a couple.
The trade for Dennis Schroder pretty much signals that Rajon Rondo is headed elsewhere. That’s a bit of a blow to the team but Schroder is younger and more durable. That move is an upgrade. Bradley reportedly plans to opt-out of his deal with the Lakers but there’s still a chance he returns. He’ll get interest around the league.
Jared Dudley might not be an impact guy on the court but he brings a lot of veteran leadership to the roster. He’s already stated that he’d like to return and it’s hard to imagine the Lakers don’t keep him around. Dwight Howard is another guy to keep an eye on. He was really solid for the team last season but he could get a decent offer after reinventing himself in Los Angeles. He could be very valuable to a team that needs a big man.
Are Lakers Still Title Favorites?
The NBA is about to get really competitive. Last season, superstars Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant all missed most of the season. The Warriors and Nets should be exponentially better this season. Plus, there’s a real shot Brooklyn will land James Harden. While it’s possible that turns into a toxic situation for the Nets, it could also turn them into an unbeatable juggernaut.
That’s not to mention the fact that the Clippers got a new coach who could turn things around. It’s going to be a very tough season for the Lakers to repeat. That said, they’ll still have the best duo in basketball should Anthony Davis re-sign.