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Lakers agree to 1-year, $18 million deal with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

By in Press Enterprise on July 12, 2017

By Mark Medina

LAS VEGAS – The work routine shifted in recent days for Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka.

After spending the past weekend watching the Lakers’ NBA Summer League team while fielding phone calls about prospective free agents, the front office brass returned to Los Angeles for additional meetings and their first free-agency deal.

The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with free-agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after meeting with him on Tuesday, according to league sources familiar with the situation.

The Lakers see the deal satisfying their specific free-agent priorities. Though Caldwell-Pope has averaged 11.7 points on 40.5 percent from the field through four years with the Detroit Pistons before making him an unrestricted free agent, the Lakers liked Caldwell-Pope’s emergence as a shooter after making 35 percent of his 3-point shots last season. The Lakers like his defense and team-first mentality. By holding firm on only offering one-year deals, the Lakers can maximize purchasing power next summer to pursue possible marquee free agents, including Paul George, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

Meanwhile, Caldwell-Pope found several things about the Lakers appealing, including the vision of Johnson and Coach Luke Walton, the team’s offense the franchise’s platform, and an expiring contract that could yield a hefty payday in the 2018 offseason when he becomes a free agent, according to a league source familiar with his thinking. Caldwell-Pope is set to make more next season that Warriors guard Klay Thompson ($17.8 million) and Draymond Green ($16.4 million).

The Lakers have maintained interest in free-agent guard Rajon Rondo after meeting with him on Tuesday, though the Lakers have not decided if they fit into their plans, according to sources familiar with the situation. The Lakers could sign Rondo through the “room exception” worth $4.3 million.

The Bulls waived the 31-year-old Rondo this […]    

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