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Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been at the center of some recent trade rumors and it appears he is preparing for all the talk to become reality.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, “the legwork is being done on Caldwell-Pope’s side to find him a better situation.”
Ganguli’s sources confirmed the Lakers have indeed been involved in discussions about Caldwell-Pope. Reports say they have been active in talks surrounding Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza, but are seeking a third team to get involved in the deal.
Caldwell-Pope can veto any trade, and it is unknown whether he would accept a deal to the basement-dwelling Suns — hence, the potential need for a third team.
The Lakers are also reportedly interested in Orlando Magic forward Terrence Ross and Miami Heat sharpshooter Wayne Ellington, and still seem to be searching for another big man. The goal for the Lakers here is very clearly to surround LeBron James with another veteran, 3-and-D shooter or two.
Meanwhile, Pope has been linked to both the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, though it is unclear if either team is involved in the talks.
The Oklahoma City Thunder could be another team willing to explore a deal for Caldwell-Pope, sources told Amico Hoops on Friday.
That said, the Lakers would be hesitant to another playoff-contending team in the Western Conference, simply because they wouldn’t want to hurt their own chances. They also reportedly are not willing to deal any of their young core — Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — for anything less than a superstar.
Ariza signed a deal with the Suns in free agency over the summer, meaning he can’t be traded until Saturday. But it’s clear the Lakers are working on something, and it’s even more clear Caldwell-Pope is at the center of it all.
“Caldwell-Pope has a lot of power in this situation,” Dan Feldman of NBC Sports wrote. “The Lakers don’t have to trade him, but if they deal him, they must send him to a destination he prefers. … Caldwell-Pope’s $12 million salary is reasonable. He’s just 25 and has a skill set most teams crave.
“If he wants to leave Los Angeles, the Lakers should likely find a trade that works for everyone.”