Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played a key role in the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship campaign during the 2019-20 season and the veteran is now returning to the Western Conference. After spending last season with the Wizards, Caldwell-Pope along with Ish Smith are being transferred to the Nuggets in exchange for Will Barton and Monte Morris. Caldwell-Pope returns to play a key role in a title contender in Denver.
“Washington is closing a deal to buy Will Barton and Monte Morris of Denver for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, sources told ESPN.” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted on June 29, 2022.
Caldwell-Pope spent 4 seasons with the Lakers, including 2 years as a starter, averaging 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1 steal while scoring 37, 8% from the 3-point line. The keeper averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 39% from the three-point line in 77 games that started with Washington last season.
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Caldwell-Pope on Lakers Trade: ‘I Guess It’s Time For Me To Move On’
Last June, the Lakers traded Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and the 22nd pick in the 2021 NBA draft for the Wizards for Russell Westbrook. Los Angeles General Manager Rob Pelinka may never admit it publicly, but the front office is likely to sign off on the blockbuster deal. Caldwell-Pope noted he has “no hard feelings” about the Lakers trading him but now the keeper will play for his third team for three seasons.
“I feel like there’s a great chance it’s going to happen because of who they’ve got,” Caldwell-Pope said on March 10, according to NBA.com. “So I thought it was going to happen. Then it did. I’m right. I didn’t think too much about it. I guess it’s time for me to move on.”
Lakers remain committed to keeping Westbrook for 2022-23
As expected, Westbrook has exercised his player selection in the final year of his current contract, with a salary of $47 million for the 2022-23 season. Westbrook’s long-term future with the Lakers remains uncertain as the point guard will be a free agent in 2023, but this season Los Angeles has cemented their commitment to the veteran by another year. Despite much talk of the trade, The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that the Lakers want to see how Westbrook performs under new head coach Darvin Ham.
“His future is in LA,” explained Charania during a June 28 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “The Lakers want to see this piece this upcoming season from all I have been told. My guess is that there are many different trading scenarios offered. But with the new coach Darvin Ham, I truly believe that this office team, this management team, the coaching staff, Russell Westbrook, they all want this to work. “
Unless another team pulls off a surprise run against Westbrook, the Lakers look ready to try to build around the guard alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the Lakers are looking to add more wings from either side in free agency.
“With free agency less than 48 hours left, the Lakers are focusing on two wings, according to federation sources,” Buha wrote on June 28. “Most scenarios assume for the grant exception. Their middle class taxpayers are all focused on signing or two can come in and start alongside James and Davis. The Lakers believe that a player with a combination of 3-pointer shooting and multi-position defense can help strengthen the James-Davis-Westbrook squad, whose opponents have already surpassed 3.0 points out of 100 times. owned last season, according to Cleaning the Glass. “
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