The Los Angeles Lakers are feeling good after winning the 2020 NBA Championship. With LeBron James locked-in and Davis likely to return, they’re also feeling pretty good about their chances to win even more titles over the next few years.
But with over half of their roster set to become free agents this offseason, they have a lot of decisions to make regarding who they’d like to bring back from the ’19- 2020 campaign.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope seems like an early favorite to return given his shooting marks and the way he stepped up in the Orlando bubble. And while LA is expected to make him a priority in free agency, the guy will be doing them no favors on the financial front.
(via Silver Screen and Roll)
“That is going to be a tough negotiation, man. Because this is very similar to what happened with J.R. Smith right after the Cavs won a title in 2016 and it’s relevant because he’s represented by Rich Paul,” said ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “On that team, Rich Paul represented LeBron James, represented Tristan Thompson — not that Tristan is like Anthony Davis — but he had two starters elsewhere. I remember the Cavs’ position was like look, ‘there’s nobody out there offering J.R. Smith this money, we can’t pay J.R. this money, it’s not market value.’ Basically, what Rich said to the Cavaliers at the time was, ‘our leverage with J.R. is not that he’s got a bigger offer elsewhere. Our leverage is you can’t replace him. If he walks away from you, you don’t have an option to go sign somebody that could replace his value. And that is the exact same position, in my view, that KCP is in.”
“If I’m Rich Paul, I’m saying ‘KCP is better than Danny Green. You pay Danny Green $15 million. I will accept $15.1 million, and let’s do a three-year deal.’ If your retort to that is there is nobody out there who is going to pay Kentavious Caldwell-Pope $15 million a year, I would agree with you, especially in this market. But, I can see Rich Paul saying, ‘Yeah, he is worth 15 million to you.’ And I ultimately think that the Lakers should pay it. I’m not saying it’s $15 million, whatever the number they agree on, whether it’s $15 million, whether it’s $13 million, whatever it is because again, I think you want to have the asset.”
The Lakers can have up to $34 million in cap space this offseason, and they hope to use it to improve the state of their roster.
Pope was an important member of LA’s Championship team. Last season, he averaged 9.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 46.7% shooting. But with so many spots to fill and many things to consider, the Lakers will have to be conservative with their money, and Pope may be too expensive to keep around.
Regardless, the lakers will have a lot of options as they gear up for an important few months.