As the NBA offseason has progressed, we've used Stephen Oh's SportsLine Projection Model to update win forecasts for various teams as they've added free agents.
Generally speaking, win totals have gone up -- and outlooks have improved -- when teams have added notable free agents.
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That's not the case for the Los Angeles Lakers after adding guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a one-year deal reportedly worth $18 million, after coming over from the Detroit Pistons as a restricted free agent.
The four-year pro out of the University of Georgia gives the Lakers some scoring ability as they continue to retool their roster after he averaged 13.8 ppg last season in Detroit, and has averaged at least 10 ppg over the past three years.
But he's just a 33.4 percent career 3-point shooter, and he comes with some defensive questions as well. That's why Oh's latest projections for L.A. actually have the Lakers going backwards in the win column in 2017-18 with Caldwell-Pope now in the fold.
L.A. falls from 35.8 projected wins down to 34.3. That also drops the Lakers from the projected No. 13 seed down to No. 14 in the Western Conference, and cuts their playoff odds from 11.6 to 6.2 percent.
Spending $18 million to pick up a player that downgrades their outlook isn't a great look for L.A., but it's also a relatively low-risk situation for a team needing some scoring after trading away D'Angelo Russell this offseason.
The Lakers aren't expected to contend this season, and are trying to clear the deck financially for 2018-19, when they can pursue the likes of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and other top free agents in what could be a historically-loaded year in free agency.
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If Caldwell-Pope breaks out and helps the Lakers take a step forward this year, it'll be worth the investment, and perhaps the two sides could discuss a long-term deal. If not, they can move on, and the Lakers will still have the financial flexibility they need going forward.