This will be a very important week for the Lakers and the rest of the NBA, as trades can be completed today at noon EST, the draft is on Wednesday, and teams can start negotiating free agency deals on Friday. The Lakers are already active, as they have reportedly completed a deal for Dennis Schroder from the Thunder in exchange for the 28th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft as well as Danny Green. They have plenty of players from the 2020 championship team who will be testing the free agent market, reportedly including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who shined throughout the season, but especially excelled in the playoffs.
Shams Charania of The Athletic has all-but-confirmed that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be declining his player option for the 2020-21 season. However, Charania also reports that it seems that KCP is open to offers from other teams as he may test the market more so than many analysts believed.
Lakers starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will decline his 2020-21 player option and enter free agency, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. He’s expected to have several suitors at start of free agency — and teams are under impression he’s open to offers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
We will have to see what teams are also interested in the services of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. It was somewhat expected that KCP would be able to collect a nice $14-16 million salary per year from whatever deal he received, with the Lakers being able to fit him underneath their salary cap at that deal. The problem is that the Lakers might have to convince themselves that KCP is worth that number, while other teams with ample cap space like the Hawks may not even think twice about bringing in a shooter who hovers around 40% from three often in his career.
The Lakers still feel like the favorites to sign him, due to the perception of how well-liked he is by LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel, and the rest of the Lakers organization. That doesn’t even dive into the fact that KCP is a long-time client of Rich Paul and Klutch Sports, as his role on the Lakers has long-been-joked as a product of being one of LeBron’s guys.
As I said previously, free agency negotiations can take place Friday evening. We will see if more rumors pop up about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope between now and then.