One of the best free agents left on the market is heading west.
Former Detroit Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, sources said.
Caldwell-Pope is expected to have a significant role with the Lakers, who recruited him hard after he became an unrestricted free agent last week.
The deal will enable Caldwell-Pope to re-enter the market in 2018 when the salary cap is expected to rise and there will be a strong market for shooting guards.
Caldwell-Pope, 24, had the option of taking a $4.9 million one-year qualifying offer with the Detroit Pistons before they renounced his rights last week. This deal makes him one of the top 10 highest-paid shooting guards in the league.
It’s a coup for the Lakers, who made landing a difference-making player like Caldwell-Pope a priority with their remaining cap space while also preserving flexibility for next summer.
Los Angeles is now down to just the room exception of $4.3 million as the Caldwell-Pope move used all of their cap space.
The Lakers reportedly met with Caldwell-Pope, 24, and Rajon Rondo on Tuesday and have since struck a deal with the University of Georgia alum. He averaged 13.8 points per game while shooting a career-high 35 percent from deep last season for Detroit. He also brings solid defense to the perimeter.
Caldwell-Pope is the first free agent signing of the summer for Magic Johnson and the Lakers (they traded for Brook Lopez).
The $18 million contract the Lakers are reportedly giving Caldwell-Pope doesn’t mean a possible deal for Rondo is off the table. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Lakers are still committed to finding a way to bring the free agent on board. Los Angeles drafted point guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 Draft, but the addition of Rondo would bring a veteran presence to one of the youngest teams in the NBA.