On Tuesday, the latest Lakers trade rumors came courtesy of Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who reported on “The Jump” in the afternoon that the team was quietly shopping Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and trying to upgrade before Thursday’s 12:00 p.m. PT deadline for deals.
But while that show came on at noon — giving Caldwell-Pope theoretically plenty of time to hear that his name was in rumors before the Lakers tipped off at 4:30 p.m. that night, their final game before the deadline — he claimed after the Lakers’ 128-111 loss to the Pelicans that he was unaware his name was out there.
“I don’t know who all is in trade talks. I haven’t paid attention to it or even heard anything about it. This is my first time hearing about it,” Caldwell-Pope said.
That’s probably the right mindset to take for a player, but we also know it isn’t the one they always live by. We saw this team torn apart by tension amidst Anthony Davis trade rumors two years ago, and while the talks the Lakers have had this season have obviously been nowhere near that public, it still wouldn’t be a surprise if various Lakers had heard their names mentioned in reporting or speculation over the last few days and weeks.
If they have, though, Caldwell-Pope claims no one has said anything.
“I mean, maybe? I don’t know,” Caldwell-Pope said when asked if the team was feeling any anxiety about the upcoming deadline. “I feel like energy is good, I don’t think nobody is worried about any trade unless they’re keeping it personal.”
That last part is always possible, but at the very least if a player is keeping that annoyance or anxiety inside, they won’t have to do so for much longer. With the trade deadline just a little more than 24 hours away, the Lakers will be through it soon. Players will either be dealt, or know they’re staying.
Maybe that’s why — even without a de-facto no-trade clause like he’s had in past years by virtue of re-signing on a three-year deal last summer — Caldwell-Pope says he isn’t too stressed.
“I’m just here to do my job. If I’m in trade rumors, that’s something that I don’t have control of,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I want to really just think about what I can control and come out here and do my job.”