In a move that many believed was in effort to gain favor with LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year contract in July 2017. He fell into their laps after the Detroit Pistons withdrew their qualifying offer and made him a free agent.
Caldwell-Pope had a bit of an inconsistent season with the Lakers, in some part due to struggles while dealing with a legal matter that came to light. After the Lakers signed James to a four-year deal, Caldwell-Pope was among the players who filled out the roster.
Of the team’s free agents — a group that included Brook Lopez, Julius Randle — only Caldwell-Pope was re-signed. Again on a one-year deal, his role with the team has fluctuated.
Now, the 25-year-old is a potential trade chip as the Lakers reportedly are looking to acquire Trevor Ariza from the Phoenix Suns in a three-team deal. Meanwhile, Caldwell-Pope and his representatives reportedly are exploring their options, per Tania Ganguil of the L.A. Times
While sources confirmed that there have been discussions about trading Caldwell-Pope, the legwork is being done on Caldwell-Pope’s side to find him a better situation. Caldwell-Pope’s minutes have decreased sharply since last season, as has his role in the offense. The Philadelphia 76ers could be a landing spot.
Caldwell-Pope holds a full no-trade clause and in the event he approves a deal, can’t be moved until Saturday, Dec. 15, at the earliest; the same applies to Ariza as he too signed a new contract this past offseason.
Caldwell-Pope would receive a 15 percent trade kicker if he’s dealt by the Lakers. Although he’s inconsistent, Caldwell-Pope could be a valuable floor spacer for a team if he’s moved.
Should that be in a deal with the Suns, Ariza would reunite with the Lakers and bring more veteran experience, a defensive presence on the wing and 3-point shooting to the team. Not for nothing, Ariza is also a former client of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka when he was an agent.