Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed Lakers' loss over legal matter, lawyer says

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Saturday, December 16, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Popemissed the team's game in Cleveland on Thursday to comply with a modified sentence stemming from a plea agreement he reached on a misdemeanor offense while a member of the Detroit Pistons in March, his attorney told ESPN.

Caldwell-Pope was originally cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence, which carried a 12-month probation.

On Thursday, Caldwell-Pope had to return to California to begin an intensive program over the next 25 days that will result in some travel restrictions and could cause him to miss additional games but will end his probation early.

"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," attorney Jeffrey Lance Abood said in a statement. "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."

On Saturday, the Lakers released a statement saying the team is "abiding by the terms of a program for Kentavious that were established for him by a court in the state of Michigan."

Caldwell-Pope, 24, was suspended under the NBA's personal conduct policy for the Lakers' first two games of the season. He is expected to rejoin the team for practice this weekend.

"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 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."

Caldwell-Pope is averaging 14.2 points in his first season with the Lakers after spending four seasons with the Pistons, who picked him eighth overall in the 2013 NBA draft following two seasons atGeorgia. He is shooting a career-best 42 percent from beyond the 3-point arc on a career-high 6.1 attempts per game. He averaged 13.8 points and 3.3 rebounds last season with the Pistons.

Caldwell-Pope joined the Lakers in July on a one-year, $18 million deal after they heavily recruited him in the first week of the free-agency period. The deal was projected as one of the top 10 among shooting guards in the NBA.

Caldwell-Pope was not with the team in Cleveland on Thursday for what the Lakers had said were personal reasons. Coach Luke Walton said he didn't know for certain at the team's morning shootaround if the Lakers would have Caldwell-Pope for the game.

"I think we will have him for the next game but everything was happening real time," Walton said on Thursday night after the Lakers' loss to theCavaliers. "And we had a lot going on."

The Lakers, who have leaned on Caldwell-Pope to provide veteran leadership, turn the Lakers' defense around and at times be the team's closer in close games, started rookie guardJosh Hartin place of Caldwell-Pope. Hart responded with a career-high 11 points and 10 rebounds in his first start.

Information from ESPN'sAdrian Wojnarowski,Brian Windhorst and Ohm Youngmisuk was used in this report.