The Los Angeles Lakers have now dropped three straight games since LeBron James was injured with Tuesday’s 128-111 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Obviously, everybody knew that the superstar had a major impact on the team but it’s clear that Los Angeles isn’t a playoff team without him. With the trade deadline approaching on Thursday, the team could reevaluate their plans and try to find some temporary help.
One player who hasn’t stepped up in James’ absence is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He’s only scored a total of 10 points in the last three games combined despite starting. He’s also only hit two threes. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers are open to trading the veteran guard.
“The Lakers have been working the phone since the LeBron injury looking for wing players,” Windhorst said on “The Jump.” “The problem is that they don’t really have a whole heck of a lot to offer. They have discussed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in trade scenarios, but from what I am told they are not willing to include a draft pick, or their best young player, which is Talen Horton-Tucker, and without those two things to grease, I don’t know if they’re going to get the kind of wing that could make a difference.”
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Caldwell-Pope’s Value Has Likely Decreased
Had the Lakers shopped Caldwell-Pope earlier in the season, they may have gotten a nice return for him. He was on fire and there was a point when he was making over 50% of his 3-pointers. He’s now been pretty inconsistent for over a month now.
Caldwell-Pope is one of the players who should be stepping up with James out, but he hasn’t. Teams notice these types of things, and that could hurt any trade value he might have. With the trade deadline so close and the Lakers appearing unwilling to trade Horton-Tucker, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to pull off any substantial trades.
KCP Responds to Trade Rumors
This time of the year can be tough for players. A lot of guys will hear their names in trade rumors. Caldwell-Pope claims he hadn’t paid attention to the rumors but he’s clearly aware of them now.
“I really haven’t paid attention if I’m in trade rumors, that’s not something I really have control of,” Caldwell-Pope said after Tuesday’s loss, via Lakers Nation reporter Ryan Ward. “I’m trying to focus on what I can control.”
During the trade deadline, there are a lot of rumors that don’t actually lead to anything. Just because the Lakers have shown interest in dealing Caldwell-Pope doesn’t really mean they’ll trade him. At this point, it’s probably better just to keep the guard. His value is likely low due to his recent slump and the fact that he’s a Klutch Sports client means he’s got a strong relationship with James and Anthony Davis.
Caldwell-Pope really stepped up for the Lakers during last season’s championship run. If he can break out of his slump, he’s very valuable to the team. They know that and that’s probably why they won’t end up trading him quite yet.