Lakers Make Room for Caldwell-Pope, Waive David Nwaba

Darius Soriano —  July 12, 2017

When it was originally reported that the Lakers had agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of my first thoughts was “that is more money than they have in cap space”. Well, it turns out, in order to get closer to that amount the team was going to have to clear a little bit of salary.

That happened today when the team announced they’d waived David Nwaba. Nwaba’s contract for next season was just picked before the start of free agency, but his salary for next season was actually not guaranteed if he was waived before January 10, 2018 according to Eric Pincus at Basketball Insiders. This gave the team some wiggle room to execute a move just like this one, should they need a hair of extra cap space to give to a free agent.

The question now, however, is whether Nwaba will be back on the team soon should he clear waivers. Again, here’s Pincus, via twitter:

If you need any of that translated, it’s pretty simple: by cutting Nwaba, the Lakers open up about $500K in cap space they will give KCP (pushing his deal to about $17.7 million). The team can also use “cap space” to sign Thomas Bryant to a deal longer than 2 seasons, and then, if Nwaba clears waivers the Lakers can simply re-sign him to the same deal he was on before.

That last part is where the risk is. I don’t know how much interest Nwaba has league wide, but he’s essentially on a minimum contract and, to me at least, has shown he belongs on an NBA roster. Remember, the Lakers did this exact thing with Kendall Marshall three years ago in order to open up the cap space that was used, for among other things, to bid on the recently amnestied Carlos Boozer. The Lakers had interest in bringing Marshall back too, but he did not clear waivers and the team never got their chance.

My hope, though, is that Nwaba clears waivers and is indeed brought back. I like him as a player — his defensive ability, competitive spirit, and character as a teammate are all things to be valued and are good additions to any roster/locker room. We’ll keep you posted in the coming days with any information that breaks on Nwaba.


Darius Soriano

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to Lakers Make Room for Caldwell-Pope, Waive David Nwaba

  1. Does that mean he’s off the summer league squad too?

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  2. Thanks for that concise update Darius! I think many of us were wondering how KCP was going to fit. Let’s hope Nwaba clears waivers.

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  3. If the Lakers are serious about Rondo they would need the roster spot and then likely use the room exception. I hope someone picks up Nwaba and he gets paid.

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    • I think I miscounted the number of roster spots filled…Lakers could sign Rondo and Nwaba.

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    • I do wonder why anybody would be interested in Rondo at this point. He’s washed up and a locker room problem to boot. So where’s the upside?

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      • He actually got favorable opinions from young members of the Bulls roster. The Bulls beat the Celtics in the first 2 games before he broke his thumb. He can organize an offense. As a pass first point guard he would seem like a good mentor for Ball. I wouldn’t be upset or anything if the Lakers failed to get Rondo but, I think he would make a lot of sense on a 1 year rental, especially if it is only for a bit over $4 million.

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      • TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooDamnHigh July 13, 2017 at 11:01 pm

        Did you watch the first round of the eastern conference playoffs?

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  4. I hope we get Nwaba back. He is really fun to watch and fits the culture we are building. PLEASE NO RONDO!

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  5. I understand the move because KCP is a starting caliber SG, with a serviceable outside shot, but hate that it had to be Nwaba. I hope he clears waivers. I don’t want any other team to pick him up. I’m sure if he makes it past the 2 days, the Lakers will definitely sign him up. Hopefully, teams won’t be able to look past his outside shot (lack thereof). He deserves a roster spot. But if he does get picked up, I wish him all the best. Solid player who would add value to any team.

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  6. Nwaba should stay with purple and gold, even if there’s a team signing for minimum. First, Lakers have a dynamic roster fitted to his game and style. Secondly, there is gold mine ahead in waiting for the breaks. Just look at the expiring contracts in 2018, he needs to sacrifice a little more Magic/Rob will reward his patience, his hustle and team spirit. Third, Nwaba belongs to ’17 new breed of players, team oriented, defense and affordable if Lakers get to their objective in signing two marquee Superstars.
    I’ll start the rally cry “Come back Nwaba, come back home.”

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    • You don’t need to start a rallying cry (although I’d join you anyway ;)). If he gets claimed off waivers, he has no choice but to go play for his new club. If he doesn’t and the Lakers offer him a min contract 48 hours from now, he’ll take it, as it will be almost certainly his only offer.

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  7. The CULT OF NWABA is alive and well!!!!!!

    Regarding Rondo, he was good when Kobe was still in his latter prime. That was like 8-9 years ago. I am not so concerned with the supposed “cancer” or “coach killer” label because he won’t have that kind of influence at this stage in his career.

    However, I agree with Andy Kamenetzky and the sentiment that with a few Vets already on the team, and with Magic being around, how much MENTORING will be needed for Lonzo?? This mentoring thing is BS to me on some levels. The ability to Mentor should be icing on the cake NOT THE CAKE ITSELF!!!!!!!!!!

    Why not try to develop MORE talent for the future in Tyler Ennis or even, Alex “CSI: MIAMI” Caruso????? Rondo would’t be the end of the world but he’d have to come for the Vet Minimum IMO. Use the exception money on Mbah A Moute for more D on the wing.

    Ball and Kuzma are back tonight!!!!!!!!!!! Caruso should spell Ball and keep the passing intensity up.

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    • I agree, ‘This mentoring thing is BS to me on some levels.’ There were many on this board that used ‘mentoring’ as a justification for signing Mozgov/Deng.

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      • Well I think many people using mentoring as justification for Dengov were desperately seeking some kind of justification for those utterly off the rails insane deals.
        Understandable, because it’s human nature to seek rhyme and/or reason even in total chaos and madness.

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        • That said, Rondo would hopefully be a 1-year deal at the mid-level. As a backup point guard, we could do worse than Rondo. The risk, obviously, is that Rondo doesn’t exactly consider himself a backup and has no problem voicing his “leadership” to the distress of many coaching staff. He’s been kicked off of as many teams as Latrell Spreewell and Lamar Odom combined. That should be an end-point to the conversation. However, if the FO wants the Lakers to be more than a bottom dweller, they may consider this a low-risk high-reward signing that could push the team into a cusp-playoff position.

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      • TheNumberOdFlopsIsTooDamnHigh July 14, 2017 at 12:08 am

        Rondo may well be a pretentious bonehead as far as we know, but he is also a proven winner, in fact he is a bonafide nba champion. So this might be just as much about competing and winning games in the short run to help lift the franchise out of the bottom dweller territory as it may be about “mentoring the rookies”.
        And even though he may have his best years behind him, he is not over the hill and has a lot left in the tank (and to prove) imo. Wheter you like his personality or not, it is pretty hard to argue that Rondo has poise and experience, he will not be scared of the big moment in the last minutes of a close play off game, or crumble under the adversity and the pressure of a big market team with an engaged fanbase. Mentor role and locker room smiles or not be damned.

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    • Barath Sundar July 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Caruso for a 2 way contract.

      Think he will get more than that ?

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  8. I feel for Nwaba this is the “business” side that sucks sometimes. But as we all have been lamenting the lack of defense in the back court and shooting KCP is clearly an upgrade. His shooting is borderline but his defense if absolutely necessary. The one year deal is ideal keep the teams options for next year. great move.

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    • I remember Goudelock commenting that the up and down d-league and non-guaranteed money was what lead to him eventually heading overseas for a steady pay check. I do think the G-League should pay more than they do.

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  9. Sucks for real. Really like Nwaba but the good outweights the bad by a country mile. That’s the way business is in the NBA. About Rondo? nah i rather bring Ennis back, you want mentorship? You have Earvin freaking Magic Johnson to give all the mentorship any pg would need. With the signing of Kentavious (hot damn i like that name!!) We have a really interesting squad. And i think this one year deal will motivate him to take it up the next level. I like the squad as it is we still need to make the final moves to round up the roster. I can see the Lakers get in the long side of 30 wins and if everything goes exeptionally well we might toy with a 500 record. If we were in the East we would make the playoffs for sure LOL. Great explanation about why Nwaba was released and what moves coukd be make Darius…

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  10. A Horse With No Name July 12, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Ian Clark rumored to be in the mix for a room exception signing. A case can be made for signing him (3 pt shot, knows the system, young), or Rondo (vet point guard, could be needed to play a bigger role than many here believe, as young Lonzo is still a kid and shouldn’t play too many minutes.) I”d go with Rondo, who showed he still had game this year.

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  11. I loved watching Nwaba`s game of defense and hustle.In a league of millionaire prima donas,he stood out for his modesty and hard work,and was just starting to develop his shooting. Hope somehow he lands back on the Laker final 15. Just not a fan of Rondo at this stage of his career.

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  12. I saw a post on a previous thread that suggested Clarkson/Deng for Carmelo. Aside from the fact that Melo is an old school iso player who doesn’t fit in the offensive scheme that Walton wants to play, he also has a $27 mil player option for 2018/19 which would kill our cap space for next summer.

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    • That would be so stupid in so many levels. That’s what this young Laker team need a 33 year old past his prime no defense ISO scorer with a 27 million player option cap killing contract. Somebody is off his meds for real…

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    • I doubt that trade is real but it still would help our cap situation. With no trade we would have still had clarkson on our cap for 12mil and had to stretch Deng which would have left something like 7.4 mil for a total of ~19mil cap hit.

      Carmelo’s 1 yr 27 could more easily be bought out and we clear 27 mil, and created 19mil cap space we couldn’t have had before in 2018. Or we can stretch Melo which would make his cap hit for 2018 be 9mil. So we still created at minimum 10 mil cap space with this theoretical trade which wouldn’t happen.

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  13. I agree, “mentoring” is overrated.

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  14. We are down 2 guards on our roster at this point With the exception our way to get a player.Obviously a point guard is our priority and an additional guard can be signed or brought back after clearing waivers.IMO our biggest need will be to support lonzo as he navigates his way through a grueling NBA season for the first time on a team that may and should be able to compete for a 8 seed this season. If lonzo plays 70 games with a rookie body that would be big for us,so at this point if Rondo accepts I would be grateful for a competitive chance at the 12 games that may be able to push us in .The roster probably will change at the deadline but we need these guards to fill the roster and we need to stack our D team with the new 16/17contracts.

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  15. The signing of KCP to a one year contract by the Lakers is really a “statement” signing that implicitly recognizes changing prospects for the future. Waiving Nwaba could lead to our losing him: we’ll find out in 48 hours. I think we’ll get lucky. Since David has had his development so closely tied to the Lakers, he might not be so helpful to other teams.

    There are other hopefuls in the wings. Alex Caruso put on an unexpected balanced show during the Lakers last summer game; Ian Clark appears fresh from an NBA champiponship Warriors team with 3 pt. scoring credentials–as did Isaiah Canaan in the NBA before his disastrous year with the Bulls.

    It appears that the Laker brand is re-emerging.

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  16. With Rondo, the Lakers could have their own version of the “death lineup”:

    PG Rondo
    SG Pope
    SF Lonzo
    PF Ingram
    C Lopez / Nance

    Offensively, this lineup would wreak havoc. Rondo has made strides on his outside shot and Luke’s system would only help in that department (same goes for Pope). If he continues to improve his jumper, this lineup could have 5 players to spread the floor for one another, and could outrun any team in the league.

    Defensively, our PF would be able to switch onto the opposing PG without giving up a major mismatch. 5 high IQ players communicating on defense could do wonders.

    Getting Rondo is not about mentorship, it’s about production on the court and giving Luke more versatility and lineup options…..in other words, more wins.

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    • Rick in Seattle July 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      LT, I’m probably more in agreement with Horse, that they need to take a good look at Ian Clark. He is young, can shoot, and already knows the GS/Walton system. I’m just a little concerned that Rondo may not fit the Walton culture. They want to avoid any disruptive force inside the team.

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