The trade deadline season is in full swing now with only a little over 24 hours until the March 25th mid-afternoon deadline. As they are basically every year, the Los Angeles Lakers have been heavily involved in the rumors. They’re actually most notably involved in a buyout market rumor, as league executives expect the Cavaliers’ Andre Drummond to sign with the Lakers if he is bought out instead of traded. However, it seems like the Lakers may be exploring additional options through trade, as it is now being reported that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been discussed in trades.
Here’s what ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said about the matter (h/t Harrison Faigen and Silver Screen & Roll for transcription):
“The Lakers have been working the phone since the LeBron injury looking for wing players. The problem is that they don’t really have a whole heck of a lot to offer. They have discussed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in trade scenarios, but from what I am told they are not willing to include a draft pick, or their best young player, which is Talen Horton-Tucker, and without those two things to grease, I don’t know if they’re going to get the kind of wing that could make a difference.”
Yeah, people had the nerve to bring up Talen Horton-Tucker in a trade. More on that later.
Windhorst is reporting that the Lakers are in the market for wing players, something that we haven’t heard much of as the Lakers have instead been connected to players who would play either the four or (even more so) the five for the Lakers in Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, and even P.J. Tucker (traded to Milwaukee Bucks).
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be one of the only contracts that could help build up the salaries on the Lakers’ end to attain someone worth some value to the Lakers on the other end. He signed the 3 year, $40 million extension in the offseason putting his 2020-21 salary at $12M. Someone else would have to be attached to the deal to make the salaries work, but the Lakers could go out and get someone like the Rockets’ Victor Oladipo ($21 million salary in 2020-21) as he’s reportedly on his way to getting dealt before the deadline.
Here’s what KCP said about the rumors after last night’s terrible blowout loss to the Pelicans.
KCP says "I really haven't paid attention" to trade rumors and says now is his first time hearing there are any about him.
"I'm just here to do my job. If I'm in trade rumors, that's something that I don't have control of. I'm trying to focus on what I can control."
— Trade Deadline Faigen (@hmfaigen) March 24, 2021
It’ll be sad to say Caldwell-Pope go if he is dealt. He was a huge part of the Lakers’ 2020 Playoff run, and was arguably the Lakers’ third-best player throughout the entirety of those playoffs as well as the regular season. He’s struggled over the past couple of months though.
Don’t be surprised if Rob Pelinka makes a move if he perceives an improvement to the team.