Former UGA basketball star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to sign two-year deal for $16 million with Los Angeles Lakers, according to an ESPN report on early Saturday morning.
The report followed the stunning news of the NBA’s No. 1 free agent, Kawhi Leonard, spurning the Lakers and LeBron James to join their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers.
As part of the Leonard deal, the Clippers agreed to trade for his buddy, All-Star guard Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the Lakers whiffed on Leonard, it freed up money to sign Caldwell-Pope, among others.
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Caldwell-Pope is about to begin his seventh season in the NBA. He was selected No. 8 overall in the 2013 draft by the Detroit Pistons, where he spent his first four seasons. The former UGA star played the last two years with the Lakers, averaging 11.4 points this past season.
The 26-year-old shooting guard earned nearly $30 million over the last two seasons with the Lakers. His career earnings stand at $41.4 million, according to HoopsHype.com.
The Lakers are considered a top contender for this year’s NBA championship, despite missing on Leonard. The Lakes still have LeBron James, and added All-Star Antonio Davis in a trade.