Heading into free agency, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was among four players who could re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers depending on the outcome.
After the Lakers signed LeBron James to a four-year, $154 million deal, it appeared Caldwell-Pope’s time in Los Angeles was likely over.
However, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka suprisingly decided to break up the second max-contract slot and the 25-year-old shortly re-signed on a one-year, $12 million deal.
After shooting 38.3 percent from the three-point line during the 2017-18 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope has been trying to improve during the offseason in an effort to be a better fit alongside James, according to Spectrum SportsNet:
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) August 30, 2018
Since the arrival of James, much of the attention has been on the lack of perimeter shooters. As James has won three championships in eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances with shooters, many have been critical of the team’s signings.
However, Caldwell-Pope is coming off a career season from beyond the arc and he is expected to get more open looks with James attracting the defense. Despite going through some off-the-court issues, he averaged 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 74 games.
As training camp approaches, head coach Luke Walton revealed there will be an open competition for the team’s starting lineup outside of James. While Caldwell-Pope is expected to be the starter, he will receive plenty of competition from Josh Hart, who showed improvement en route to the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player.