New trade proposal sends Lakers' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Timberwolves
After the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, an unexpected outcome for the defending champs, questions about the roster’s strengths became prevalent.
The Lakers are built around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The two superstars have the highest usage rates on the team while everyone else on the court plays a specific role.
For players such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, that’s knocking down 3-pointers on offense as the shooting guard. However, Caldwell-Pope had an abysmal shooting performance by his standards against the Phoenix Suns, and doubts grew about his long-term future with the franchise.
Caldwell-Pope is under contract until 2023, but his yearly salary is palatable in a potential trade to acquire a more diverse scorer on offense.
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report proposed a hypothetical trade that sends Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers’ No. 22 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In return, the Lakers would receive shooting guard Malik Beasley.
Here’s Swartz’s reasoning:
“An average of 6.2 points on 37.9 percent shooting (and 21.1 percent from three) against the Phoenix Suns was brutal, as Caldwell-Pope looked unwilling to shoot even before suffering a knee injury. With the Lakers’ title window likely only open a few more years, they need an upgrade at shooting guard ASAP.
Beasley, 24, put up 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.8 steals on 39.9 percent shooting from three this season, and would immediately become the third-best player on the Lakers. The Wolves may be willing to deal him with the emergence of rookie shooting guard Anthony Edwards, who looks like a perennial All-Star in the making.
Beasley gives the Lakers the scoring punch they need when LeBron James and Anthony Davis need a breather, and he’s a terrific floor-spacer and off-ball threat (41.3 percent on catch-and-shoot threes).”
The trade works contract-wise because Beasley makes just north of $14 million next season. Minnesota inked him to a four-year, $60 million deal last offseason because of the promise he showed after arriving via trade from the Denver Nuggets.
Beasley played in 37 games this season and started in 36. The 24-year-old guard averaged 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He shot 44 percent overall on 16.2 attempts and 39.9 percent from deep on 8.7 attempts.
It’s unclear how Caldwell-Pope is valued by Minnesota, but the draft pick is a nice acquisition in what looks like a deep draft with plenty of players available that can contribute right away given the system.
However, Minnesota also needs to start making a push for the playoffs with Karl-Anthony Towns, as the franchise hasn’t had much success since it last qualified for the playoffs in the 2017-18 season. Beasley is the type of player Minnesota would love to keep as Anthony Edwards continues to develop.
But for the Lakers, as Swartz mentioned, Beasley would become the third scoring option for Los Angeles. Dennis Schroder reportedly wants a contract worth $100-120 million in free agency, so Beasley allows L.A. to comfortably let Schroder walk.
If this is the only deal on the table for L.A., it would definitely address a need on the roster.