The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be in discussions for a trade that would see them bring back former champion Trevor Ariza from the Phoenix Suns. In order to do so, however, they likely need to find a third team to take on shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope whose salary makes him the ideal candidate to be sent out in such a trade.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Houston Rockets are emerging as a possibility for said third team as they are interested in acquiring KCP. The Rockets have struggled this season, holding just a 12-14 record and the 14th spot in the West fresh off a Western Conference Finals. KCP would give them a shot in the arm as a much-needed defender and shooter.
The Suns reportedly are looking for starting-caliber point guards and draft assets. It’s not clear if the Rockets or Lakers can offer enough to Phoenix.
According to Charania, no deal is imminent and Caldwell-Pope “can remain a Laker” past the trade deadline, although many believe the Lakers are going to find a way to trade for Ariza.
By way of a CBA provision for players re-signed to one-year deals, KCP has veto power on any trade and, as reported by Charania, would only sign off on a trade if he felt that it would benefit his career. Houston could allow him to join a possible contender (if they improve from their slump to start the season) while getting significant playing team for a team low on wings. Caldwell-Pope’s agent is Rich Paul who also represents LeBron James.
Both Caldwell-Pope and Ariza become eligible to be traded on December 15th.