Lakers bringing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a three-year contract

Broderick Turner
·3 min read
Los Angeles Lakers' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope reacts after his three-point basket during the third quarter.
Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope reacts after his three-pointer against the Trail Blazers during Game 2 of their playoff series. (Kevin C. Cox / Associated Press)

The Lakers continued to build an impressive roster to defend their NBA championship by reaching an agreement Saturday to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a starting guard last season who contributed clutch play during the postseason.

Caldwell-Pope agreed to a three-year deal for $40 million, his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, told The Los Angeles Times.

The next important block for the Lakers' foundation is to get Anthony Davis to sign a deal that many NBA executives believe is a forgone conclusion after the All-Star forward opted out of his contract that would have paid him $28.7 million next season.

Caldwell-Pope’s ability to defend and make three-pointers, something he did well for the Lakers during the season and in the playoffs, were two reasons why L.A. wanted the 6-foot-5 guard to return.

He was third on the team in scoring during the playoffs at 10.7 points per game, shooting 41.8% from the field and 37.8% from three-point range. He averaged 9.3 points during the season on 46.7% shooting, 38.5% from three-point range.

He’s also known for his durability. He played in 69 regular-season games, starting 26, and started all 21 of the Lakers’ playoff games, averaging 29 minutes per game.

Caldwell-Pope opted out of the final year of his contract, which would have paid him $8.4 million, hoping for a bigger payday. The New York Knicks also showed interest in signing him.

Keeping Caldwell-Pope was significant for the Lakers after free-agent guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley opted out of their contracts and agreed to join Atlanta and Miami, respectively.

The Lakers began this offseason process by acquiring point guard Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Danny Green and the draft rights to first-round pick Jaden McDaniels.

The Lakers then opened free agency Friday by agreeing to deals with swingman Wesley Matthews and center Montrezl Harrell.

Harrell, the former backup center for the Clippers, was the NBA’s sixth man of the year and Schroder was the runner-up last season.

Free-agent forward Markieff Morris is interested in re-signing with the Lakers, which would give them another versatile player. The Lakers also can improve their roster by using the veteran's minimum exception to sign an experienced player to a short, inexpensive deal, and by making trades.

But the biggest order of business is to get Davis signed. Contracts can be signed starting at 9:01 a.m. PST Sunday.

According to people not authorized to speak publicly, Davis and Paul, who's also his representative, informed Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manger Rob Pelinka that Davis wanted to see how the team would be put together before deciding the length of his contract.

He can sign a two-year contract for $68 million with an option to become a free agent after next season, which could align him with LeBron James’ free agency. The first year of that deal for Davis could be worth about $32.7 million.

Davis also could sign a three-year deal for $106 million with a player option after the second year, a four-year deal for $146.7 million or a five-year deal worth $189 million.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.