Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brook Lopez are two of the newest Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2016 season, they both underperformed in a lot of people’s eyes in the weaker of the two conferences. These two are on one year deals with Los Angeles, but if they improve, could the Lakers keep these two and not target Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James?
If KCP and Lopez find success and lead the Lakers to 35-40 wins, the Lakers will contemplate bringing both of them back and continue to rely on Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball to improve and lead the Lakers to the playoffs in the coming years. If the Lakers decide to sign both of these guys again, they would be making the biggest mistake imaginable.
The Lakers could potentially sign two top 10 players in the league if they play their cards right in the 2018 off-season. Los Angeles needs to encourage these two to play hard enough to help the Lakers to a much improved record this coming year, but they cannot re-sign either one of them if they want to contend in 2018. While KCP and Lopez are good players, they are not what the Lakers need to win a title. So, if they find great success this year, the Lakers cannot re-sign them because it will continue to push them away from title contention.
Using these KCP and Lopez as patch up players for one season is excellent, but if they are on the team at the beginning of the 2018 regular season, then the Lakers had a terrible off-season and did not become a contender once again. Lopez and KCP can take more money on worse teams, but they want to win and may see potential in the coming years in LA. The Lakers need to refuse to re-sign them and settle for nothing less than the best free agents next summer.