The Los Angeles Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have agreed to terms on a one-year, $12 million deal, as was first reported by Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Word of Caldwell-Pope's agreement broke shortly after it was announced that LeBron James, too, would be signing with the Lakers. Both James and Caldwell-Pope, coincidentally, are represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports.
The entangled nature of those two signings makes Caldwell-Pope's contract impossible to evaluate on its face. It's not at all an unreasonable deal; teams with cap space haven't been shy about committing eight figures on one-year contracts. Caldwell-Pope himself played for the Lakers last season on just such an arrangement, worth $17.8 million. But it was suggested, even then, that Los Angeles might be doing more than merely signing an interesting young player—that building a relationship between the Lakers' new front office and an agent who just so happened to represent the best basketball player in the world would be worth more than anything Caldwell-Pope could offer on the floor.
There could be some truth to that. There's also reasonable justification in the fact that Caldwell-Pope offers the Lakers even more length and shooting on the wing, which could be their only hope of making it out of the West alive. The class of the conference plays small ball. Whether matching up with the Warriors or Rockets, these new-look Lakers will be dependent on players like Caldwell-Pope to defend multiple positions and help space the floor. This isn't a flashy signing (especially considering the cap figure involved), but Caldwell-Pope could prove useful—if somewhat erratic.
The Lakers could probably find glitzier uses for $12 million in cap space, but the circumstances ensure that this is money well spent.
Grade: A, by association