Lakers to add JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson to mix, will bring back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
After securing LeBron James on a four-year deal worth $154 million, the Lakers agreed Sunday to one-year deals with three veterans.
They will pay Kentavious Caldwell-Pope $12 million, Lance Stephenson $4.4 million and JaVale McGee $2.4 million, according to people not authorized to speak publicly. None of those deals can become official until Friday.
Two contracts did become official. The Lakers signed first-round pick Moe Wagner, which means he can’t be traded for at least 30 days. They also signed Malik Newman, a rookie from Kansas, to a two-way deal.
Caldwell-Pope spent last season with the Lakers on a one-year deal worth $18 million, after spending the first four years of his career with Detroit. By the end of the season, he had become a reliable starting guard for the Lakers and a good example for the young players, especially with his one-on-one defense.
Caldwell-Pope made a career high 42.6% of his shots and was the Lakers’ best free-throw shooter at 78.9%.
In part of December and January, Caldwell-Pope played on work release while serving a 25-day jail sentence that stemmed from a probation violation related to his arrest in March 2017 for allowing a person to drive his car while under the influence.
McGee joins the Lakers from the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won two championships and guarded James fiercely in the Finals. The 7-footer played in 65 games for the Warriors last season, starting 17, including three games in the Finals. He averaged 9.5 minutes and 4.8 points a game last season.
Stephenson began his career with the Indiana Pacers, then played for Charlotte, the Clippers, Memphis and Minnesota before returning to Indiana last year, where he averaged 9.2 points mostly off the bench.
“While I couldn’t be more excited to join the Los Angeles Lakers, I first need to thank Pacer nation for all of the love and support over the years,” Stephenson wrote in a post on Instagram. “… The entire organization stood with me through all of the ups and downs of my career and have played a crucial role in molding me into the man and player I am today.”
Stephenson has a particularly close relationship with Brian Shaw, the Lakers associate head coach who held the same role in Indiana.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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