‘Legal Matter’ To Affect Caldwell-Pope’s Availability

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed the Lakers’ game Thursday in Cleveland and will sit out a few more as he resolves a legal issue, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Caldwell-Pope was sentenced to 12 months’ probation after pleading guilty in May to a misdemeanor offense of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence. He had been cited with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but pleaded down to the lesser charge. On Thursday, he began what Shelburne described as an “intensive” 25-day program that will result in an early end to the probation.

Caldwell-Pope is not permitted to leave California until the program is completed, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. The Lakers have just three games outside the state during that time  — Wednesday and December 31 in Houston and January 1 in Minnesota.

“While a member of the Detroit Pistons last year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense of allowing someone to operate his vehicle under the influence,” read a statement released by attorney Jeffrey Lance Abood. “As a condition of that plea, he was subject to extremely strict and challenging compliance terms by the court. Kentavious complied with most of the terms of his probation and he has had no further driving or other infractions since that time.

“As a result of his professional basketball work schedule, the court has modified the sentence and released him from probation early so long as he completes an intensive program over the next 25 days. There will be some travel restrictions, but we are pleased that Kentavious will now continue with his NBA season and move forward in a positive manner from this experience.”

Caldwell-Pope, who signed with the Lakers in July, was suspended for the first two games of the season under the NBA’s personal conduct policy. Shelburne reports that he is expected to rejoin the team this weekend for practice.

He is averaging 14.2 points in 24 games, all as a starter, and is shooting a career-high 42% from 3-point range.

“I am grateful for the Court’s consideration and for the support of the Los Angeles Lakers and all involved in allowing me to continue with my NBA season while I complete the strict requirements set by the Court,” Caldwell-Pope said in a prepared statement. “I understand the seriousness of this matter and I apologize for my past actions that have created this situation. Now I am committed to becoming a better person and professional from now on.”

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