By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers made two free agent splashes. Those deals to Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov are considered the worst deals in team history.
The new Lakers management led by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka made their first major splash early Wednesday morning. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to join the team on a one-year, $18 million deal.
He was initially seeking a four-year deal worth $100 million. Once the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers refused to pursue him with their cap space, his options began to dry up.
With this one-year deal, the Lakers continue to preserve their 2018 cap space. Next summer they’ll be able to chase Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George as they could potentially sign two max players.
George has already hinted that he would like to sign with the Lakers in 2018. On Tuesday, he backed off that statement a bit as he had a welcome press conference with the Thunder following his trade from the Indiana Pacers.
Besides giving the Lakers flexibility for next summer, it also gives Caldwell-Pope an opportunity to prove himself before going on the open market once again in 12 months. He’s expected to be the Lakers shooting guard with Lonzo Ball running the point and Jordan Clarkson coming off of the bench.
The 24-year-old spent the past four seasons with the Detroit Pistons. Last season, in 76 games, he averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.2 blocks per game.
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