The Los Angeles Lakers are still waiting for the right free agent to decide it’s time to take his talents to STAPLES Center. The purple and gold are without a free agency signing, but the latest rumor points to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the next possible target, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The caveat, of course, is that the Lakers want it to be a one-year deal. Los Angeles reportedly offered Dion Waiters a one-year, $17 million offer and still have that kind of money available. Whether Caldwell-Pope is worth that kind of massive single-year contract is unclear.
The former No. 8 pick lacks the kind of well-rounded offensive game that would make him an easy signing to focus on for the Lakers. He is a an elite backcourt defender, though, which is one of the needs both Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson have outlined as paramount numerous times this summer.
The Detroit Pistons are up against the hard cap after signing Langston Galloway, which could open the Lakers to swoop in and swipe him away from Motor City.
Detroit, pushed to the maximum, can offer Kentavious a deal that comes out to about $17 million in the first year. That’s awfully close to the space the Lakers have, making for an interesting scenario to keep an eye on.
Caldwell-Pope isn’t the shooter or ball handler the Lakers were hoping for, but he would be a massive upgrade defensively. That, along with a diminishing free agent market, might be enough to push the Lakers to toss the Waiters offer at Kentavious.
The Pistons would then have a very tough decision to make, potentially opening the window for LA to shake a restricted free agent their way this summer.