Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers on a three-year, $40 million deal, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. The third year of the deal includes a partial guarantee. This is now the fourth consecutive offseason in which Caldwell-Pope has signed a contract with the Lakers. He originally joined the team in 2017 after starting his career with the Detroit Pistons and has been playing under one-year deals ever since. Now, he gets the long-term security he's been looking for since 2017, and he gets it with the championship contender he's been with for the past three seasons.
Caldwell-Pope initially had an $8.4 million player option for this season. He was expected to pick that option up throughout the regular season given the expectation that cap space would be limited league-wide. A strong playoff run in which Caldwell-Pope became the third-best player on a championship team changed that. According to Charania, Caldwell-Pope received plenty of interest around the league, but he and the Lakers were determined to get a deal done.
That makes sense on both sides. The Lakers, having already spent their mid-level exception, had no way of replacing Caldwell-Pope if he had left. Caldwell-Pope, meanwhile, would have had to have joined a lottery team like New York or Atlanta in order to get this money elsewhere. The Lakers had full Bird Rights, though, so they could pay him above the cap to stay.
Now the bulk of their offseason retooling appears complete. By signing Montrezl Harrell with the mid-level exception, the Lakers triggered a hard cap at the $138.9 million apron. They are now extremely close to that figure, and will likely look to offload JaVale McGee's $4.2 million salary to create the space needed to fill out the roster. There are still minimum signings left to be made, but the defending champions have now made their biggest moves.