The Los Angeles Lakers have been involved in their fair share of trade rumors already, and even though much of their roster isn’t eligible to be moved until Saturday, a team firmly looking for ways to win now with LeBron James on the roster is always going to be the subject of such gossip.
What that means is that much of the roster will exist in a state of flux, and have to cope with the ramifications of that. The Lakers are seeing that right now, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope having his name floated in multiple rumors, while the Lakers’ young core is reportedly safe (for now at least).
With all that noise only set to get louder when players signed over the offseason are able to be dealt on Dec. 15, James spoke to reporters about how to tune out such whispers about players’ uncertain futures before the Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets on Thursday night:
“It’s a business. If you get traded, that don’t mean your paycheck stops. It doesn’t matter, you’re still going to be in the NBA, just continue to get better and better. If you get traded it’s part of the business. It happens. I mean it sucks, that’s for sure, but it happens, so you just go about it.
“My good friend Kyle Korver just got traded in his 16th year, so you think it’s hard for a younger guy, I think it’s harder for an older guy to do it. An older guy with family and kids, things of that nature, been in the same city for years and then you get traded? I think it’s harder for those guys than it is for the younger guys.”
James is right about the logistical challenges that come with being traded, and while it should be clear he wasn’t referencing Caldwell-Pope specifically, the 25-year-old would still fall into the category of older players James was referencing due to his two children and family he already has in L.A.
Caldwell-Pope has already said he isn’t bothered by rumors that the Lakers might trade him, so he would seem to already be taking James’ advice on controlling what he can control, but it can’t be easy to not think or wonder about the future. There are potentially huge financial ramifications for Caldwell-Pope in getting dealt to various situations around the league, depending on if they have a role in which Caldwell-Pope can showcase his specific talents for free agent suitors this summer.
Luckily Caldwell-Pope is in a better situation than most, as by virtue of re-signing via Bird rights on a one-year deal after only spending a year with the Lakers, he has a de-facto no-trade clause and has to approve any possible destination, but those kind of decisions still carry pressure and uncertainty. We’ll really get a glimpse of how Caldwell-Pope is handling all of that when the Lakers take on the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday. At least if he’s still on the roster.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.