Report: Atlanta Hawks showing interest in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Lakers Daily

Report: Atlanta Hawks showing interest in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to re-sign guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a new report indicates that the Atlanta Hawks could emerge as a strong candidate to acquire him when the league’s free-agency period begins

Shams Charania of The Athletic looked at possible offseason roster decisions for the Lakers and other NBA teams and indicated that signing Caldwell-Pope to a new deal could be more difficult.

“After establishing himself as a key player heading into next season, Caldwell-Pope is expected to decline his $8.5 million player option, sources said,” Charania wrote. “There’s significant mutual interest between Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers, but there will be some external suitors. A team such as Atlanta — searching for productive veterans around All-Star Trae Young — could emerge with interest.”

The 27-year-old Caldwell-Pope has been in the NBA for seven seasons, including the last three with the Lakers, where he’s primarily come off the bench during the past two seasons.

Caldwell-Pope had moved into the Lakers’ starting lineup in Orlando after teammate Avery Bradley opted out of playing, with Caldwell-Pope thriving once the season resumed in July.

During the postseason within the bubble, Caldwell-Pope averaged 10.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, while also connecting on 37.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

In addition, Caldwell-Pope was especially clutch during the final three games of the NBA Finals, scoring a total of 48 points to help the Lakers capture their first league championship in a decade.

Exactly when the NBA’s free-agency period begins is still uncertain, but the Lakers do have full Bird Rights on Caldwell-Pope. That allows them to sign him for any salary up to his max without having to use a different exception.