By: Will Burchfield
It was clear Kentavious Caldwell-Pope wasn’t going to return to the Pistons when the team renounced his rights last week.
It was just a matter of where he’d end up instead.
Per Brian Windhorst, Caldwell-Pope has agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Lakers.
The Lakers went hard after Caldwell-Pope once he became an unrestricted free agent. It is believed he will play a significant role on a rising team.
The deal is a beneficial one for both sides. Caldwell-Pope, 24, instantly becomes one of the top-10 highest-paid shooting guards in the NBA and can cash in again next summer when the salary cap is expected to be even higher. The Lakers get a very strong two-way player without handcuffing themselves in free agency down the line.
KCP averaged 13.8 points in 76 games last season for the Pistons. He shot under 40 percent from the field but 35 percent from three, the latter mark a career best.
The Pistons indicated they were ready to move on from Caldwell-Pope, their first-round draft pick (No. 8 overall) in 2013, when they traded for Avery Bradley last week. Bradley, who carries an $8.8 million cap hit, is a cheaper — and arguably better — version of Caldwell-Pope.
Bradley will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but he and the Pistons could try to hash out an extension before then.
Over a four-year career with the Pistons, Caldwell-Pope averaged 11.7 points and three rebounds per game.
He will miss the first two games of the 2017-18 season after he was arrested in March for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.