Report: Lakers to Sign Free Agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Darius Soriano —  July 11, 2017

The Lakers’ quiet off-season is now officially over. After having discussions with several free agents (George Hill, Dion Waiters), the team has found its man (and someone to take their money) in former Piston Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:

First, it’s important to note how unlikely this exact signing would have been a week ago.

KCP entered this summer as a restricted free agent with the Pistons. It was not until the Celtics secured Gordon Hayward in free agency and needed to off-load some salary did things shift. Danny Ainge executed a trade with the Pistons, sending Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris. Adding Bradley meant that Stan Van Gundy found his “shooting guard of the future” and it made KCP expendable. Gone went his qualifying offer and with it his restricted status. He could now go to any team he wanted.

And he chose the Lakers and their one-year deal. Excuse me if I seem shocked. I am. Caldwell-Pope surely had longer term offers on the table. To eschew those to sign with the Lakers for one year seems almost unfathomable to me. Credit to the Lakers’ front office of Magic and Pelinka for getting this done. They got a young FA, about to enter his prime, to sign in LA for a single season. Yes, the dollar amount is high, but that seems irrelevant to me at this stage. Again, he could have made much more on a longer deal.

As for fit, KCP instantly slides into a thin backcourt at SG and can be slotted between Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram rather seamlessly. He’s a good (not great, but good) shooter from distance, hitting 35% of his 3’s — but he did so on nearly 6 attempts per game. That volume from distance is what intrigues me more than his percentage as it shows me a player who is comfortable taking the long ball and someone who, because of that volume, teams will defend him more seriously out on the arc.

As for the rest of his offensive game, he’s a decent mid-range shooter and can get to the basket some on straight line drives — especially when he’s attacking hard close outs. He’s a good ball handler and can come off screens and hand-off actions to get his own shot. He has the tools to do more offensively, but he’s not yet put it all together to form a more complete offensive package (for example, he averaged a career high 2.5 assists last season in Detroit).

Where I am more excited about KCP’s potential is on the defensive end. While his Real Plus Minus numbers aren’t super impressive, he has the physical tools to be an excellent defender. He has good size and length, is a rangy athlete, and has the ability to chase players off and around screens. He can cover ground on rotations and can close out on shooters well when locked in. Here’s some of his defensive highlights from the season before last:

The ability he has to slide his feet, lock and trail shooters coming off picks, and bother players handle makes him an ideal partner for Lonzo in the backcourt. It means he can switch onto opposing point guards when warranted, lessening the load on Lonzo and allowing the rookie to slide onto wings where, at this stage, he’s better suited as a defender anyway. From that standpoint, besides George Hill, there’s maybe not a FA who the Lakers met with who I like more as a partner for Ball next season.

I do not want to turn KCP into a world beater of a player or overhype him here. The Pistons choosing to remove his tender and set him loose is something that made me raise an eyebrow — after all, everyone can use more wing depth in this league. He has holes in his game and I don’t want to portray him as something he’s not. That said, he’s a former top-10 pick, is only 24, and can improve. Better yet, he’s on a one-year deal so of things don’t work out, no harm/no foul and both sides can walk away next summer.

So, for all these reasons, I am thrilled with the signing. The Lakers have a young player who is a willing defender and has shown to be a high volume three point shooter. He fits well with this core and bolsters an area of the roster where the depth was shallow. He will allow Jordan Clarkson to play some PG, getting him on the ball where he’s clearly more comfortable as a talent. All in all, he just fits and allows guys to be slotted in ways which, I think, will help optimize them.

Kudos to Magic and Pelinka for getting this done.

Darius Soriano

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to Report: Lakers to Sign Free Agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

  1. Damn fast. Like you knew it was coming.


  2. All the poor stats Reed is posting on twitter are killing my buzz on the signing, but it is a can’t hurt situation. If he realizes his potential then great for the Lakers, if he doesn’t we have no obligations after this year.

    If he becomes important to team it may require some cap magic to keep him and sign 2 top tier free agents.

    Overall very happy. Plus a good look for the front office getting a win in free agency.


  3. Besides slotting JC at backup PG, have to wonder if it also helps increase his trade value too, given that “6th man” expectations seem a lot lower and more about scoring than “combo guard that can’t defend anybody.” See: Williams, Lou. JC may not be as complete of an offensive player as Lou, but might be able to play an adequate portrayal in a half season to increase his trade value, no?


  4. This is a dream come true signing. I don’t think they’ll rid themselves of Nwaba because they are so similar that I think they will motivate each other. Though thin, our backcourt now appears to be very solid. This is going to be a fun season!!!


  5. WOW!

    Paul George wanting to be a Laker
    Mosgov’s contract off the books
    Brook Lopez a Laker
    Lonzo drafted
    Kuzma and Hart drafted
    Pope a Laker
    Rondo coming soon with the $4.3 M exception

    Do you see it? That’s the Lakers luster beginning to shine again!
    Are you starting to believe?


  6. This is a dream come true signing. I don’t think they’ll rid themselves of Nwaba because they are so similar that I think they will motivate each other. Though thin, our backcourt now appears to be very solid. This is going to be a fun season!!!


  7. Offseason is not done. They signed him for slighly more than the cap they have so looks like they have to do something to free that cap. Also according to ESPN the Lakers are still trying to sign Rondo. This was a great pick-up for the Lakers.


  8. Excellent pickup. Kid can defend, and he’s shown potential as a shooter.


  9. Fabulous pick up — a young 2 guard with a rep as a solid defender who we can evaluate for a year and please let’s not forget he is represented by Lebron’s agent


  10. Seems just what the Lakers need. Can shoot, defend, and thrives in an up tempo offense. Also has improved each year in the league.


  11. I thought KCP was a pipe dream. This is a major signing. 2 way SG was our most pressing roster need. Pelinka wanted shooting and defense. Important step to agree to terms with the consensus Most talented player available/remaining. Imo, this guy is a starting caliber player, probably top 25 at his position. We are paying him like a top 10 but that’s the 1 year sweetener.


  12. TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooDamnHigh July 12, 2017 at 1:00 am

    The City Of Angels gets their Pope.
    I must confess, I have faith again.

    All jokes aside, with Rondo in the fold we can compete AND develop Ball.
    Why not get reps and build chemistry with our other young talent off the bench. Let’s stay realistic, no rookie starting point guard will up a teams wins by more than a couple, if that. No matter his potential/ceiling. So it’s is looking more and more like there is a coherent and working strategy in place. And I know true Blue and Gold Fans are not too fond of Rondo, but the guy is a competitor, say what you will. He played very well and almost carried the bulls by himself in the playoffs before he got hurt.


  13. Renato Afonso July 12, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Great deal. Clarkson moves to the bench, as he should, and the starting lineup looks set. One has to wonder what is the plan to release cap space… Could Deng be moved before the start of the season?


  14. Seems odd in a way, but Rondo, as a pass-first old-school PG who won a title in Boston on a very tough team, is very much Magic’s kind of guy, so it is not at all surprising that Magic would tab Rondo as the mentor/back-up for Ball–who is also Magic’s kind of guy.

    KCP is a nice signing. I think that Magic and Pelinka will burn up the phone lines trying to get rid of Clarkson, probably Randle, and obviously, Deng.


    • In order to move Deng the Lakers would probably have to package Zubac to make the money and years palatable. Randle is in his last budget friendly year. Clarkson is probably paid about right making him not an attractive asset if tied to Deng. They aren’t going trade Lozo or Ingram to move Deng. That basically leaves Nance or Zubac as cap frineldy contracts that aren’t expiring. If I were on the other side of the table weighing the upsides of those two only Zubac would intrigue me enough to swallow Deng’s contract.

      I think Randle and or Clarkson are movable but, unlikely if tied to Deng.


  15. I see this as a positive. Young two way player with tons of potential. His skill set seems to fit very well into Waltons system and inarguably makes the Lakers a lot more competitive in the short term.

    However, if his high salary causes Rondo to seek a now out of reach $6-10M elsewhere, I will be a little disappointed, as I see him as a potentially great mentor to Ball. But if the Lakers can secure Rondo at the $4.3M mid level, this acquisition will be an ideal catch.


  16. Barath Sundar July 12, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Kcp apparently signed for slightly more than the available cap.

    Some sequencing of contract signings might help, as may the trade or renunciation of 3rd string players (Ennis, brewer , Nwaba, Robinson etc)

    I’d like to see if we can keep Nwaba, brewer etc, but am definitely not giving up on zubac yet.

    And Caruso etc – would 2 way or g league contracts help there ?


  17. His shooting numbers are similar to D’Angelo Russell .350 vs .352 from 3 and .399 vs .405 overall, and as the video in the article showed, he’s a really good defender. Going up against the likes of Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook, he seemed to give them a hard time. Has a low turnover ratio as well (7.9%), and shoots .467 from the corner 3. Of course playing in Detroit who aren’t a great 3-PT shooting, he was probably their main 3-PT shooter (47% of his shots were from 3) other than Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris, which explains the overall lower percentage cause he probably didn’t get as many open looks. Also he’s only missed 14 games over 4 years which is always a plus.
    Walton’s style of play and having a passer like Ball may allow him to get better looks and he’ll probably end up shooting much better. All in all I think this is a smart sensible pick-up for the Lakers.
    (All stats courtesy Basketball Reference).


  18. Darius or anybody here, can you please elucidate more on how KCP’s signing affect the ff players: Nwaba, Ennis, Robinson, Bryant ? is there any available space for Caruso?

    Great signing and not over yet with Rondo. Can Lakers used the remaining money and sign above players instead of Rondo? Well whatever the outcome, these are positive moves in getting better than previous years. Go Lakers!



    • Not sure it affects Nwaba. But the Lakers probably have to trade someone, cause this deal put them over the cap limit for this year. Depending on the structure of the trade and how much they have left over after, they might have cap space left to sign someone like Ennis.
      Robinson was never going to be signed anyway, cause we have too many PFs now. Caruso will probably be given one of those two-way contracts. They can sign Rondo using the Mid-Level exception.


      • Wow I was wrong. They waived Nwaba. I really hope he clears waivers. Love having him on the team. Brings good energy, hustle and defense. If he could add a serviceable outside shot he’d be a brilliant off the bench guy.


      • Thanks Natha for the reply. Yes, Bryant and Caruso become the insurance for Pg or C getting injured.


  19. Great signing. Id love to add Rondo to the mix. George isnt coming.


    • Since you seem to know the future, care to share some stock tips from the world of tomorrow?

      Only Paul George knows what Paul George is going to do (and he likely doesn’t know 100% for sure what he is going to do).

      It is a great signing, good young player replaces D’Angelo to some extent. The team is starting to look downright decent:

      PG: Lonzo Ball
      SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
      SF: Brandon Ingram
      PF: Julius Randle
      C: Brook Lopez

      Bench: Nance, Clarkson, Deng

      In the east, they would be in the hunt for a 8 seed, more than can be said of any team fielded by the Lakers in the past four years.


      • You get the Lakers moved to the East, Ill give you my stock tips.


      • I’m inclined to take PG at his word, that he’s dreamed of playing for the Lakers, that his desire to play for them has been over stated, that it’s too early to tell if he’s coming to the Lakers, that he wants to see what may happen in OKC, that he wants to win titles.
        That it may depend on who else might join him elsewhere. The subtext of that last bit being he knows he can’t do it alone. Sounds pretty level-headed to me.
        I know you weren’t asking me for stock tips, but personally I like Vanguard index funds (I don’t work for them! I’m just a client).


  20. I’d take Alex Caruso over Tyler Ennis. Love the KCP signing…


  21. The new D league contracts are available this year and each team has 2 that essentially allows a 17 man roster for each team, however I believe it goes against the cap. I’m not sure if we can pay the luxury tax in this case, but if its possible it is something that the FO can do to help after thier screw ups, since organizational money is legendary when it comes to the lakers, It would be great if we could keep all of our young talent for the future wars, and cut the checks that hurt now. Buy outs /Stretches etc.,


  22. Love this signing– kind of can’t believe how perfect of a fit this is. I was mixed on the DAR trade, but in the grand scheme of things, the Lakers FO has had an A++ off season.

    KCP can also be resigned of course if the lakers whiff on PG/DMC/RW.

    But they won’t.


  23. I like the KCP signing as it fills a desperate need (for a SG) and we signed the type of player I like, young (as opposed to the 30+ types we saw last summer). This certainly removes some of the sting from the DAR trade.

    So the question is if KCP plays well and blossoms what does that mean for PG? The Lakers could have their SG and SF spots locked up with Pope and Ingram. I guess that is an issue that will sort itself out.

    The Pope signing pushed the Lakers closer to the upper 30s/.500 record which puts them in line for an 8th seed. Of course that is looking at the Lakers roster as is with Clarkson and Randle on the team. However, the amount of the KCP signing means that a trade is in the offing.

    I could see a Clarkson deal in the works as removing his contract (assuming we take an expiring back) would free up even more space going forward. I don’t think Clarkson is enough to dump Deng and we know that Magic/Pelinka would love to get his deal off the books. But, I’d rather not include Randle as he has supposedly been working on his body and his shot.

    I’m not as high on signing Rondo, who needed a strong coach and three Hall of Famers to keep him in line with the Celtics. However, I have heard that he was well liked by some of the young Bulls players — so maybe he has mellowed with age.

    Glad to see that Magic/Pelinka be aggressive and think outside the box.


    • Rick in Seattle July 12, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Matt, good comments. And, you hit on two really important points:

      #1), How does PG fit on this team with KCP & Ingram occupying the wing? It’s a valid question. But, it’s sort of a hypothetical issue right now because there is no PG guarantee until we actually see him in a Lakers uni. If he does come, it’s frosting on the cake. The rumor of his possible arrival should not deter the Lakers FO from continuing to improve the roster in every meaningful way possible over the next 12 months. If history is any indication, 2018 free agency could be problematic. A lot can change in the next year, from both a player and a management perspective. We can probably presume with near certainty that Magic’s marching orders from ownership, is to continue improving the team to the extent possible. That’s why signing a player like KCP makes so much sense. Let’s hope that Magic & Pelinka continue to be open-minded about additional roster improvements as we move through the coming season. Just as a side point, PG can play PF against a lot of the smaller lineups in the NBA. Of course, if Lebron were to come along with PG, that would be a whole different conversation, But, having too much talent is a “Problem” any GM would relish having.

      #2) For the moment, the addition of KPC will require some roster tweeking, and as you put it, a trade may be in the offing. Probably the easiest move would be to waive the non-guaranteed contract of Nwaba–but that’s just not likely to result in enough cap space to sign BOTH KCP & Rondo (and still have a little in reserve for Ennis, Bryant, Caruso, etc). The next easiest would probably be trading the Brewer contract for a future 2nd round pick. But, in looking at the roster carefully, the two contracts that are the biggest long-term cap-killers are the contracts of Deng & Clarkson. While Randle may eventually gets moved, he is still on his rookie contract & therefore does not have the same financial impact at this moment in time (although he will become a RFA next summer). While the Deng contract will be difficult to trade, Clarkson may hold some value for several teams. Will be interesting to see what direction Magic takes to come up with.the cap room for KCP & Rondo.


  24. All this FO is doing is winning! KCP is a great pickup, a nice win-win, given where both parties found themselves in mid-July. I am bracing for losing a player I like (Nwaba, Zubac) to make up the small cap shortfall to $18m.

    My guess is that JC is now very available along with a couple of 2nds for cap space. Or any combination of players for moving Deng (2020 1st, JR, any of the recent low picks). There are very few teams with room that can accommodate such moves and getting fewer.

    Conversely, if BLo, JR, and KCP form an effective starting five with LB/BI (aka make the playoffs), it could be a viable strategy to re-sign all and chase only one max player in 2018. I also think Rondo can help us as our 6th man, so keeping fingers crossed for a JC trade/RR signing in the next few days.


  25. Clay Bertrand July 12, 2017 at 9:45 am

    NOOOOO NOT NWABA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I thought the Lakers would maybe renounce Robinson or something. I LOVE Nwaba’s energy and his whole NOT NEEDING THE BALL type of game.

    They must think they got a REALLY EXPENSIVE Nwaba in KCP. SMH………


  26. Regardless of who the Lakers decide on for the back up PG spot, I’m wondering if they can also get in on this Carmelo deal to Houston and offload Clarkson or Deng somehow. It is being reported that the trade scenarios are multi team and Daryl Morey is the master of the multi team blockbuster. I’ve read 3, 4, and 5 team speculation with no mention of teams or terms.

    The common narrative is that Deng’s contract will be easier to move the fewer the remaining years there are on his deal. While this SEEMS logical, the dwindling league wide cap space and high number of teams in the Luxury Tax next season mean that even as his contract becomes perhaps more palatable, the market who would or could be receptive to taking on his deal is fast evaporating. Teams that could take on a Deng deal without sending contracts back are few and far between.

    I think that the Lakers may feel they need to move the Deng deal sooner than later out of fear that his contract will be harder and harder to unload going toward next summer for the following reasons:
    1.) Captain Obvious—Its a CRAPPY contract as the entire world (even North Korea) is aware.
    2.) Teams with Cap Space to absorb Deng are very few and next Season will be even worse.
    3.) There is a clear Log Jam NOW at the 4 and Deng is no longer effective as a 3.
    4.) There may be a need to clear roster space for further back court signings. With Nwaba waived, and KCP signed, its a wash and the back court still is thin with no back up PG.
    5.) Other teams are still in DEAL MODE at this point so there still may be a way to offload a Contract be it Deng or Clarkson now while teams are still working on roster construction.
    6.) Time is of the Essence—The Lakers have a deadline so to speak; a date (Next July 6th) whereby they MUST have maximum cap space. Meaning for the Lakers to maximize what dubious leverage they may have, they need to act sooner than later because WHEN/IF this expected windfall of Superstars says, “IM GOIN TO THE LAKERS”, the price to offload a Deng or a Clarkson will most certainly be higher as teams seek to extort them.

    I think the Lakers look to move Deng or Clarkson before Randle unless Randle has to be included in a package with one of them. Randle still holds some intrigue for this FO I believe.

    Clearly the Lakers roster is still a work in progress. Let’s see what other rabbits Magic can pull out of his hat!!!

    Game at 7:30 on Spectrum and ESPN2 tonight!!!!! GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PS: Does the KCP signing score any points with Rich Paul and Team Lebron as Harrison Faigen speculated it could???? Could this be the latest example of Pelinka’s AGENT STROKING???


    • Rick in Seattle July 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Clay, as always, you’ve made some valid points. Nwaba is the kind of player the Lakers need to keep. While I understand waiving his non-guaranteed contract, I hope he makes it thru waivers, so that the Lakers can get him back on a veterans minimum contract.

      I also understand your argument about the urgency of trading Deng. I was hoping that the Lakers could keep Deng this season and trade him next summer, but your argument is strong. The earlier possibility of taking on another bad (but shorter) contract in exchange for Deng’s, has now disappeared with the KCP trade. Cannot imagine a realistic scenario where Deng would be acceptable to another team, unless you attach numerous assets (like a future first plus a young player). By waiting until next summer there is clearly the risk that you pointed out.

      Would a team like Brooklyn be interested if only Randle were attached? Most teams could not handle the combined contracts of both Clarkson & Deng.

      Is there any possibility that teams with bad expiring contracts (Milwaukee & Greg Monroe come to mind) can work a deal for Deng? In that case just a protected future 1st round pick might make sense,

      But, in the final analysis, I’m still of the belief that Deng may be able to rehab his value over somewhat before next season–at least to the point that he is no longer a terrible contract–just a less desirable contract. Two years age, I would not have given you 2 cents for Nick Young. But under Walton, Young completely turned around his game. I think that Deng could demonstrate a similar level of improvement, Yes, its a risk, but what are the offers right now for Deng, and do we really want or need to spend a 1st round pick and a young player just for Deng’s cap space? Tough decision. Plus next summer there is still the option to waive & stretch.

      Not sure on the $4.3 room exception. That exception is for teams under the cap. My understanding is that once KCP is signed, the team will be OVER the cap, whereby the room exception goes away. If they were to sign Rondo with the exception BEFORE they sign KCP, it may work. I am not a cap expert, so perhaps I am missing something, but do we know whether Rondo will even accept the exception, if offered?

      While I understand waiving the non-guaranteed contract of Nwaba, I think there s another easy way to free up immediate cap space without trading Clarkson. Trade Brewer’s $7.7 mil expiring contract for a protected 2nd round pick. Brewer’s expiring contract still has some value, and, as you pointed out, teams are still forming their rosters. .But in the final analysis, Clarkson may be the most logical trade to make.


    • Rick in Seattle July 12, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      Clay, to further your suggestion about cap space, and the possibility of making another trade prior to next summer, here is another direction to consider;

      According to the latest cap figures from Basketball Insiders, Eric Pincus has identified seven NBA teams that currently have over #20 mil in cap space: Indiana, Brooklyn, Dallas, Miami, NYK, PHX and Orlando. While that may change in a few days, it’s what is listed today.

      Per Clay’s suggestion, I propose that the Lakers FO make an aggressive and immediate push to trade Deng. I would offer Randle, Clarkson & a future #1 pick. Their three combined salaries total to $33 mil. That might be too heavy for some teams to handle on their own and might require a third team.

      As just an interesting side note, Milwaukee (not one of the above teams) has $23.9 million in expiring contracts between two players Monroe & Hawes.

      But an offer of two young players, a high draft pick, in exchange for a bad contract may be an offer that one of the rebuilding teams like Atlanta or New Orleans or Phoenix might seriously think about. As Clay stated earlier, cap space may be more difficult to obtain next summer.

      With a trade like this, the Lakers would lose some immediate value but gain long term cap space, and, after all, isn’t that what this teem is shooting for in free agency next summer?

      It might take two separate transactions to complete, and it might need to involve a third team, but by creating an additional $33 mil in cap space for next summer, the Lakers FO would be in the running for not two but THREE max players in one summer.

      As each of you probably recall, Miami made a similar cap move a few years ago, when they brought together Lebron, Bosh & Wade. That resulted in four Finals appearances & two titles,.
      proving that It can work.

      Unless the Lakers FO and ownership prefer to take a slower, more deliberate rebuild, they are in a unique position right now. Personally, I am in favor of keeping Deng until next summer. But if Clay is correct, and the market for Deng should close next summer, the only other option might be to waive & stretch, in which case you are paying Deng (for five years) to play somewhere else.

      As I said earlier, its a trade=off. Stretch him and pay him, or pay to find him a new team, Either way there is a cost. But if Magic Johnson’s true agenda is to develop a competitive team quickly, making room for maximum cap space next year is probably the fastest way to approach it. Losing Deng, JR and JC will not severely impact this team. Right now, this team has enough other options to carry it successfully through the coming season.

      If that is the front office goal, then fast-track a Deng trade right now while teams are still assembling their rosters. It may take a multi team trade. For one season, the Lakers could even find a spot for a large expiring contract like Greg Monroe’s, in exchange for Deng.
      If the front office wants a fast rebuild, what would be faster than making cap space for three max contracts?

      Hope each of you will give this idea some consideration!


    • TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooDamnHigh July 13, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Even North Korea knows Deng is a crappy contract? How do you know this?! very suspicious. Stay put, i just gotta make a call real quick. …
      just kidding, great post, keep ’em coming Mr. Bertrand


  27. I guess I’m the Official Nwaba FanBoy here (luckily I didn’t order a Nwaba jersey), but if he clears waivers, can he be re-signed??(I really want to order that jersey!!)


  28. There was some speculation start of July that Deng+JR could be in play for Carmelo, but it never made sense that he’d come to the Lakers. It is conceivable we are one of the four teams mentioned in current rumors: NYK get the LAL players, HOU or CLE gets Carmelo, a fourth/even fifth team is needed to send expirings to LAL, absorb some salary and reap assets. In this scenario, we trade Deng, JR and at least the 2020 1st rounder for just cap space in 2018. Thanks Jim Buss.

    I hope we keep Nwaba out of today’s lineup with a mysterious career threatening groin injury that lasts exactly 48 hours, then we re-sign him.


  29. Signing KCP takes the sting out of the DAR trade. The Lakers give up the creativity DAR brings on the offensive end for one of the best backcourt defenders in KCP. Finally, they have a player who can match up against quick guards and knock them off their game. He does not do as well against bigger players but the Lakers overall height mitigates that problem. After much woofing, the Lakers FO has come through. What a difference a day makes!


  30. It looks like KCP will miss two games to start next season due to his DUI in March. Hopefully, the move to LA will bring out the best in him.


  31. In my own pre draft strategizing, relying, in part, on Reed’s cap space analyses, I expected one mid level free agent signing, and, at least one trade, involving Mozgov, Deng, Clarkson, or Randle—as expendable/trade bait to improve longer term trade possibilities and stability of roster.

    Johnson/Pelinka have done the near impossible by obtaining a quality mid level free agent on a one year contract, and carried out a needed trade involving Mozgov, but it also cost us Russell–not on my list. We did obtain a much more appropriate one year contract center and a draft pick. Putting the pieces together, we now have KCP, Lopez, Kuzma, and Hart.

    Imo, according to my analysis, that still leaves dangling Clarkson, Deng, and Randle cap space contract issues. Any trade at any time involving any or all of these 3 players should (and probably will) be considered. Clarkston for a second round draft pick would provide sufficient cap space to assemble a satisfactory 2018 roster for October. However, that would continue a real logjam at the PF position–and it’s hard to see Randle and Deng traded together to the same team.


    • Very few teams have room (cap and/or expiring) *and* need at the 4 to absorb an offer of JR+LD – by my account ATL, BKN, maybe CHI, and perhaps NYK in order to dump Carmelo. If a trade doesn’t happen in the next few days, we’ve probably been spurned by all. The only other potential, and I’m reaching now, is OKC at mid-season, if they go for JR/JC/pick, where we stretched Deng and get at least close enough to 2 max.


      • Rick in Seattle July 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm

        While I too applaud what the Lakers front office has been able to achieve so far, it leaves unresolved the issue of a couple of remaining long-term contracts.

        If achieving cap space for the 2018 free agency is a singular goal for the Lakers front office, there probably needs to be more effort to move the Deng & Clarkson contracts.
        Without a lengthy discussion, suffice it to say that both are expendable (IMO), and the loss of their contracts could critically help the Lakers 2018 drive for cap space.

        Perhaps there will be another opportunity to move one or both players just prior to the February trade deadline, but I think a lot more effort could be expended in the interim.


        • Rick in Seattle July 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm

          A three way with Chicago, Cleveland, Lakers is possible:

          DWade ($23.8 mil) going to Cleveland.
          KLove ($22.6 mil) going to Lakers
          LDeng + JRandle ($21.4) going to Chicago (Along with Clarkson for a future pick).


          • TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooDamnHigh July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

            yeah, but why?


          • Rick in Seattle July 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm

            Chicago also has a $15.3 mil trade exception that Clarkson would fit into nicely.


            • TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooCDamnHigh July 13, 2017 at 10:58 pm

              Sure, this might work for the Bulls, but how in the world would this be beneficial for the Lakers?


              • Rick in Seattle July 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

                In the case of the trade with Chicago, it brings Love, but removes Deng, Randle (who will be RFA next summer) & Clarkson. This would net the Lakers an additional $10.4 mil in cap space for 2018 free agency, along with removing the remaining 3 years of the Deng & Clarkson contracts.

                If Clarkson were traded for Chicago’s exception (instead of a draft pick) the exception could be used by the Lakers to pick up a player of equal or lesser value any time in the following 12 months. Some teams value draft picks, some teams value trade exceptions. Gives Lakers options.

                These are not rumored discussions by any stretch, just examples of how the Lakers FO could think out of the box and mitigate the terrible Deng contract into something more positive. This only makes sense IF the front office is hell bent on a quick rebuild in 2018 free agency.

                If the FO prefers a slower, more methodical rebuild (see previous regime) then it probably makes no sense to trade Clarkson, Randle & Deng at this time. Magic & Pelinka (and ownership) must decide the direction to take.