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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope says coming back to Lakers in free agency wasn’t guaranteed just because of Klutch connection

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The Klutch Sports ties are strong, but not as influential as some might think, according to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

When the Lakers re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a two-year, $16.5 million deal last summer, a large portion of the fanbase was confused by the number they agreed to.

While it wasn’t an excess of $10 million like the two previous one-year deals he signed with the team, it was more than anyone expected him to get after a wildly inconsistent second season in Los Angeles. Plus, there was a feeling — or should I say hope — that Caldwell-Pope would sign for less in an effort build the best team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both of whom share an agent with Caldwell-Pope.

Now, 37 games into his third season with the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope is arguably the third-most valuable player on the team and, coincidentally, his contract is starting to look like a bargain. But make no mistake: If Caldwell-Pope does end up being a bargain for the Lakers, it’s not because of his ties to Klutch Sports, according to KCP.

In an interview with Kyle Goon of the OC Register, Caldwell-Pope said that his decision to re-sign with the Lakers was his alone, and that he evaluated his options before making that decision:

He hears you snickering: Of course Caldwell-Pope, represented by Klutch Sports and agent Rich Paul, was a lock for the Lakers with Klutch clients James and Davis already in tow, right?

KCP knows that’s the perception – “that’s how it’s always gonna be with our group,” he said with a laugh – but it’s not how he experienced his decision.

“I wanted to be back, but with my agent, went through the process of free agency,” he said. “Pros and cons, where I wanna be. It was all about what I wanted, and we just took it from there. … But this decision was mine to make, and we just landed together.”

Considering there are examples of talented Klutch clients like Marcus Morris and Nerlens Noel signing with lesser teams for more money instead of taking discounts to compete for a championship with James and Davis in Los Angeles, this all checks out. But with the way Caldwell-Pope has played this season, Lakers fans are hoping that his ties to Klutch Sports mean something to him, as he has a player option in his contract and can test free agency this summer.

Davis is obviously the most important Klutch client the Lakers have to convince to stay in free agency, but Caldwell-Pope will be important, too. Let me start the efforts by presenting this billboard slogan:

STAYCP.

You’re all welcome.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas