Kentavious Caldwell-Pope declining player option, entering free agency

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is opting out of his deal with the Lakers.

In a matter of a few games, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went from pariah who couldn’t a shot against the Portland Trail Blazers into one of the most impactful role players on a Los Angeles Lakers team that brought LeBron James his fourth championship and Anthony Davis his first. Caldwell-Pope might’ve ended the season strong in Los Angeles, but he might not stick around for the title defense.

Shams Charania is reporting that both KCP and Davis are expected to decline their player option. While Davis is expected to resign with the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope might look elsewhere for his next deal. The Atlanta Hawks are interested in adding the former Georgia star.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was instrumental to the Lakers’ title run

Caldwell-Pope, a former lottery pick of the Detroit Pistons, assumed the role of tertiary scorer during the Lakers’ title run after Kyle Kuzma fell into a shooting funk and Avery Bradley opted out of the restarted season. After his bad first game against the Trail Blazers, Caldwell-Pope averaged 11.2 points per game on 40 percent shooting from 3-point range.

Considering the Klutch Sports specter that hangs over the Lakers, it’s possible that Caldwell-Pope parlays his playoff success into a bigger contract with Los Angeles. However, he was an integral part of a champion, meaning some team desperate for success will likely overpay for him. While Atlanta is in need of defense and rim protection as opposed to more shooting, the hometown hero returning to bring the Hawks back into the postseason could be a nice storyline.

Considering how the playoffs started for KCP, it’s encouraging to see him finish strong and ear himself what will likely be a big new contract once free agency gets up and rolling.

Next: Offseason NBA power rankings

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