The Houston Rockets are reportedly showing interest in Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of three-team trade talks that could see Phoenix Suns small forward Trevor Ariza return to L.A.
On Wednesday, Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported Caldwell-Pope, who can't be officially dealt until Dec. 15 since he re-signed with the Lakers on a one-year contract in July, also holds veto power over any potential move.
The 25-year-old University of Georgia product has struggled to carve out a consistent niche with Los Angeles since the offseason roster overhaul led by the free-agent signing of LeBron James.
He's averaged 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting a career-worst 38.7 percent from the field across 27 appearances (three starts), after starting 74 games for the team last season. His minutes have dropped from 33.2 to 21.6 per contest.
That's not ideal for a player looking to make a big splash in free agency next summer. Charania noted the previously coveted two-way guard and agent Rich Paul would only "sign off on a trade should a deal arise that benefits Caldwell-Pope's career."
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Meanwhile, Ariza could bring wing depth and veteran leadership to the Lakers as they push for a playoff spot during the second half of the season.
The 33-year-old Miami native, who attended Westchester High School in Los Angeles and spent one year at UCLA, is averaging 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals through 25 appearances for the Suns this season. Phoenix owns a league-worst 4-24 record, however, leaving little reason to hold onto an over-30 player on a one-year deal.
Ariza previously spent most of the 2007-08 season and the entire 2008-09 campaign with the Lakers, playing a supporting role in the team's 2009 championship run.
Other pieces involved in the rumored three-team swap aren't clear and Charania reported there's "no deal imminent" despite the Rockets' desire to land Caldwell-Pope.