In the midst of a minor slump during the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be one of the more active teams in the trade market.
The Lakers finished their recent trip with a 1-3 record and look to be out of sorts on both ends of the court. Injuries to Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo have sapped the roster of their depth and it has clearly started to show.
However, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been one of the few bright spots as he has shot the ball well from behind the three-point line. Caldwell-Pope, who re-signed with Los Angeles in free agency, is a popular name on the rumor mill as several teams are reportedly interested in acquiring him.
But the Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is said to be the Rockets’ top target in their search for help on the wing, with Smith somewhere further down the list.
Caldwell-Pope can veto any trade as what is known as a One-Year Bird, having signed a one-year contract in July with the same team that employed him last season. All indications are that Caldwell-Pope would agree to a trade that lands him in Houston if the Rockets can indeed construct one.
After not bringing back Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the Rockets have been thin on the perimeter and have suffered because of it. Caldwell-Pope would provide head coach Mike D’Antoni with another capable 3-and-D wing who could shore up their rotation.
The tricky part, however, has been finding a deal that works for both sides given the Lakers are not looking to add any long-term salary on their books. A three-team trade seems to be the most likely scenario, but it may not materialize until closer to the deadline.
For now, Caldwell-Pope’s best bet is to continue his strong play to keep teams like the Rockets interested. It might not be long until he is no longer donning purple and gold.