The Lakers have finally made a splash in free agency. They got their long coveted shooting guard who is one of the better two-way players in the league. At just 24, KCP fits this team perfectly roster wise, and won't jeopardize future cap space if the move backfires. ESPN's Brian Windhorst first reported the deal and will be for 1 year at 18-million dollars.
Caldwell-Pope was the 8th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. He knew his time was all but finished in Detroit, when they begin a flurry of moves including trading for Avery Bradley, and drafting Luke Kennard in the first round this past draft. This move benefits both the Lakers and Caldwell-Pope. It allows KCP, who was first seeking to sign a max contract this off-season, the ability to pursue that sort of deal next year.
Last season with the Pistons, Caldwell-Pope played in 76 games, averaging 13.8 points, 2.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds. Though he's coming off a disappointing shooting season in which he averaged just 39.9% from the field, and 35% from three, per NBA.com.
More importantly, he's an elite defender and will help the Lakers try to recover from one of the worst defenses in the league last season. Per NBA.com, KCP allowed opponents to shoot 45.5% overall, 34.4% from three-point land, and 38.5% from shots greater than 15 feet.
This deal checks all the needs the Lakers were looking for, and able to do so without risking more than one year's cap space. Despite not being a name all fans will know, KCP should be a key contributor for this team going forward. Enjoy this signing Lakers fans, as there won't be much cap space left for this coming season, minus the 4.3 million exception. Look for LA to try luring one more player to finish their off-season strong.