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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hopes to bring ‘leadership’ to the Lakers

The biggest move the Los Angeles Lakers made in NBA free agency this summer was an unexpected one. The team agreed to terms on a one-year, $18 million deal with guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after the Detroit Pistons had decided to let him test the free-agent market by renouncing his rights.

Caldwell-Pope was a player that practically landed in the laps of Magic Johnson and general manager Magic Johnson with the Pistons deciding to move on after acquiring Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics. A long-term deal for Caldwell-Pope in Detroit was no longer an option, therefore, opening the door for the Lakers.

Earlier this week, Caldwell-Pope had his introductory press conference in Los Angeles and talked about what he will be bringing to the Lakers during the 2017-18 campaign, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:

“I’m just hope to bring the leadership,” he said. “Just try to get the guys’ motor going. Get them going in different ways. You gotta come at people in different ways. You gotta figure out how they work.”

With Caldwell-Pope now in the fold for the Lakers, the team gets a considerable upgrade on the defensive side of the basketball court as well as in the backcourt in general. The 24-year-old is a solid two-way player in a time in which those kinds of athletes don’t come around very often anymore.

Caldwell-Pope will presumably be a starter at shooting guard to start next season with Jordan Clarkson likely coming off the bench. Rookie Lonzo Ball is expected to be the starting point guard which makes for an exciting backcourt duo which is entirely different in comparison to last season with Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell.

Last season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.

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