The Los Angeles Lakers are starting to pick up some steam in free agency after a slow start. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have stuck to offering only one-year contracts to preserve cap space for the summer of 2018, but they have still chased after talents like George Hill and Dion Waiters only to watch them accept multi-year offers elsewhere. Today, they reportedly met with Detroit Pistons free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope about joining the team.
Caldwell-Pope was initially a restricted free agent, which meant that the Pistons would have had the ability to match any offer that he received and retain his services. However, the Pistons and Caldwell-Pope were unable to agree on a long-term deal, and when Detroit completed a trade with the Boston Celtics to land defensive ace Avery Bradley, they decided to cut ties with Caldwell-Pope and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Lakers, and Caldwell-Pope sat down to discuss him coming to Los Angeles:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope met with Lakers today, sources said. Several teams have expressed interest since he became unrestricted.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 11, 2017
On paper, Caldwell-Pope would be an ideal fit for the Lakers. He’s an excellent perimeter defender, and after finishing as the worst defensive team in the league last season, Los Angeles needs all the help they can get in that area. Caldwell-Pope is also a solid three-point shooter, hitting 35 percent last season.
On a team built around rookie guard Lonzo Ball, floor spacing will be imperative, and Caldwell-Pope would be a positive in that area. It’s unclear whether or not he will consider accepting a one-year deal after turning down a lucrative four-year contract with the Pistons, but if Johnson and Pelinka can pull this off, he will be a major addition for the Lakers.