The Los Angeles Lakers’ busy start to free agency has left the team in a somewhat precarious position. After signing Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell using the biannual and midlevel exceptions, respectively, the team is hard-capped meaning that if Anthony Davis signs his full max contract, as expected, they will have only roughly $18 million left to build their roster with guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope still unsigned.
That has left many believing that the shooting guard will not return to the Lakers after looking for a pay raise on the $8.4 million left on his contract that he opted out of. Still, according to the LA Times’ Brad Turner, both sides have a mutual interest in coming to an agreement on a deal.
Now, the Lakers are going to find it challenging to fit Caldwell-Pope into their cap sheet. After their new signings and including Davis, they are at nine players on the roster and need at least 13 due to NBA rules. Assuming three minimum players at say, $2 million (that number depends on their years of experience in the league), KCP would only be looking at about $10 million per year which is not a very significant raise for someone who was comfortably the Lakers’ third-best player during their postseason run.
Of course, the Lakers have a great relationship with Caldwell-Pope’s agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, so there may be workarounds. Perhaps Davis takes less money for his fellow Klutch client and teammate. Maybe the Lakers trade away JaVale McGee to create an extra four million in space. Or maybe Caldwell-Pope ultimately decides to take a pay cut to stay in LA.
Either way, it appears as though there will be some work left to do to get KCP back in purple and gold.