Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is one of several Los Angeles Lakers veterans who will become an unrestricted free agent in the coming offseason. Different teams have been mentioned as potential landing spots for the fifth-year player, and one of the latest is the Philadelphia 76ers, according to LA Sports Hub.
The Lakers are not expecting to include Caldwell-Pope in their long-term plans when they signed him to a one-year, $18 million deal last summer. However, the veteran has performed decently in his starting role for head coach Luke Walton this season, averaging 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals in 34.0 minutes per game in 70 games.
Some off-the-court legal issues hounded the former Georgia Bulldogs standout in midseason, but all is well at the moment, which could make him one of the steals of the upcoming free agency season. Caldwell-Pope is likely to bring his 38.8 percent three-point shooting this season to any team that would sign him in the summer.
In his recent article about the “best fits” for Caldwell-Pope this offseason, Jason Reed of LA Sports Hub said that the 6-foot-5 wingman should be a “perfect fit” for the Sixers, who are currently a playoff squad brimming with young stars such Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and Dario Saric.
Philadelphia’s starting shooting guard, J.J. Redick, is also about to enter unrestricted free agency this July as his one-year, $23 million contract expires. Some analysts believe that the Sixers simply might re-sign Redick, but in the event that they decide otherwise, “Caldwell-Pope becomes a perfect replacement,” Reed said.
For one, Caldwell-Pope is a cheaper and more defensive-oriented alternative to Redick, although the latter is the better three-point shooter, with a 41.7 percent clip this season. Caldwell-Pope’s touch from the outside is not that far behind, though, so the probability of the Sixers looking at him if he is available would be high.
Reed said that Philly could give Caldwell-Pope a two-year, $10 million deal. The reporter noted that while it is much lower than the player’s current pay grade, no team is expected to offer him a contract larger than that, even his current team, the Lakers.
Caldwell-Pope’s defense would certainly help the Sixers whether he plays in the starting lineup to replace Redick, or in the second unit as a backup in the two or three positions. However, his availability still depends on whether the Lakers will be successful in signing the wing superstars they are rumored to be targeting this summer.