The Los Angeles Lakers may have won the NBA championship but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to keep the band together. There have already been rumors that some veterans could test the free-agent market and they should get some interest from other teams. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is one of the veterans who is expected to opt-out of his contract.
While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going elsewhere, it’s very possible a team with more money available offers Caldwell-Pope a better contract. The veteran guard spent most of the year coming off the bench but he thrived in a starting role during the playoffs. He stepped up in a big way during the NBA Finals and was a reason the Lakers were able to pull off the win.
LeBron James decided to send a strong message to his teammate.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 28, 2020
Caldwell-Pope was one of the few Lakers who was able to stick around after the losing seasons. He became an important role player in the NBA bubble after Avery Bradley decided to sit out. Caldwell-Pope made the loss of Bradley feel nonexistent in the playoffs.
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Should Lakers Try to Retain KCP?
After his impressive playoff run, Caldwell-Pope could be a hot name on the free-agent market. He’s a really good third or fourth scoring option for a playoff team. He’ll certainly garner lots of interest from teams across the league.
Fortunately for the Lakers, they’ll have a few advantages. The appeal of going back to the best team in the NBA and continuing to compete for championships is something that every player longs for. Also, Caldwell-Pope and LeBron share the same agent. That will definitely have some influence on him. He’s not the third star that the team would love to have but he’s a really strong role player and is capable of scoring at an effective rate. The Lakers should do what they can to make sure he stays with the team.
Potential Replacements if Caldwell-Pope Leaves
If Caldwell-Pope leaves elsewhere, the team could already have his replacement on the roster. Avery Bradley started for the team most of the season and while he can also opt-out and go into free agency, the rumor is that he’s going to stay put. He missed out on the playoffs this past season but he’s one of the team’s best defenders. He’s also a capable 3-point shooter. The Lakers proved they could win without him but things might’ve been even easier had he played.
The team could also look elsewhere. DeMar DeRozan can opt-out of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs and everybody knows that he’s from Los Angeles. His production has dipped over the last couple of seasons but he can still be an effective scorer. If he can regain All-Star form, the Lakers could have a big three. If Caldwell-Pope leaves, the Lakers will still be title contenders. It would be a luxury to keep him but they can replace him if necessary.