Monday, June 27, 2022

The key player from the Lakers’ last championship run could return: the former ex-executive

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Last year’s trade for Russell Westbrook wasn’t just bad for the Los Angeles Lakers because they added a poorly fitting player. It’s made worse by the fact that they’ve given up some key role players. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma weren’t stars, but they were good defenders who could put up the occasional high-scoring game.

Kuzma is likely to stay in Washington for another season, but Caldwell-Pope could potentially be available. He’s due $14 million next season, but only $4.9 million of that is guaranteed. If the Wizards want to unlock about $9 million in salary cap space, they could ax Caldwell-Pope. If that happens, former Memphis Grizzlies manager-turned-writer for The Athletic John Hollinger believes the Lakers would jump on him:

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The Lakers clearly needed a player like Caldwell-Pope last season. He’s a guy who can play really good full-back and score when challenged. He also hit 41% of his 3-pointers in Los Angeles last season. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha believes the Lakers would like to bring Caldwell-Pope back.

“I think the Lakers and Lakers fans would welcome a reunion between Caldwell and Pope,” Buha wrote. “He was an ideal complement to James and Davis with his near-elitist roleplaying combination of pinpoint shooting, transition finishing and one-on-one defense in both backcourt positions.”

The veteran guard is a client of Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis. There is no doubt that everyone involved wants to make this happen.

From a Lakers perspective, a Caldwell-Pope reunion makes too much sense. From the wizards’ perspective, it’s hard to understand why they would want to let him go. He is close friends with superstar guard Bradley Beal. If Washington hopes to keep Beal, they want to make him happy. One way to keep him happy is to keep his friend on the team.

Caldwell-Pope has also been solid for the Wizards this season. He averaged 13.2 points per game, made 39% of his three-pointers and continued to play good defense. One way to let him go without offending Beal would be to cut him to win money for a Superstar. Washington might also be ready to finally trade the guard. The team won’t be a contender anytime soon and might be better off starting from scratch with a rebuild. That would open the door for them to cut Caldwell-Pope.

CONTINUE READING: NBA-GM Suggests Lakers Trade 2 Guards for Experienced Jazz Snipers

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