General manager Rob Pelinka has said the Lakers are firmly committed to preserving enough cap space in 2018 to sign two free agents to max contracts.
The Pistons changed course last week, acquiring guard Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics for Marcus Morris and rescinding Caldwell-Pope's qualifying offer of $5 million. Simmons, who started for the injured Kawhi put up 18 points on an efficient 8-12 shooting from the field and looked very comfortable given the circumstances.
The deal will enable Caldwell-Pope to re-enter the market next summer, ESPN reported Tuesday night.
The Los Angeles Lakers have already begun a mass overhaul of their roster from the 2016-17 season. He spent the first four seasons of his career playing for the Pistons, and over the past few years he solidified himself as one of the better two-way guards in the league.
In the 39 games before the injury, he was averaging 14.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3 assists, hitting 40 percent on 3-pointers. No matter what happens, the Lakers added a young, talented shooting guard to help Ball's transition to the National Basketball Association.
Hopefully the Lakers don't ruin this by signing Rajon Rondo, although that appears to be their goal, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Jordan Clarkson should go back to his sixth man role with Caldwell-Pope in the fold.
The fact that the Lakers would like to do one-year deals with both players doesn't mean that one (or both) couldn't be a part of their future. That it happened this late in the offseason left Caldwell-Pope without many options, and played right into the Lakers' hands.
This deal checks all the needs the Lakers were looking for, and able to do so without risking more than one year's cap space. As ESPN's Bobby Marks points out, Los Angeles is up there in terms of the most available cap space in the National Basketball Association, so at least one of these two players agreeing to sign a short-term deal could certainly happen.