The Rockets are emerging as a potential suitor for Lakers wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. While no deal is imminent and Houston isn’t the only club interested in Caldwell-Pope, the Rockets appear to be targeting the 25-year-old in multi-team trade scenarios, according to Charania.
On Sunday, we heard that the Lakers and Suns had discussed trade scenarios in which Trevor Ariza would land in Los Angeles and the Lakers would trade away Caldwell-Pope. However, KCP has the power to veto any trade and almost certainly wouldn’t want to end up with the NBA-worst Suns, who in turn wouldn’t have much use for another wing. As such, the Lakers and Suns are said to be on the lookout for a third team to help facilitate a possible deal.
The Rockets make some sense as that third team, given their need for another three-and-D player. Houston would also be a much more favorable landing spot than Phoenix for Caldwell-Pope if he hopes to play a regular role for a contending team this season.
However, the Rockets’ best salary-matching piece in the range of Ariza ($15MM) and Caldwell-Pope ($12MM) is Brandon Knight ($14.63MM), and Houston can’t send him back to Phoenix during the 2018/19 league year, since the Suns traded him away in August. As such, the Rockets, Lakers, and Suns would likely need to search for a fourth team to acquire Knight and draft picks, sources tell Charania.
Ariza and Caldwell-Pope will become trade-eligible on Saturday, so it’s possible that these talks will get more serious at that point.