EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he will not be able to play in three Los Angeles Lakers‘ road games outside the state of California in the next few weeks due to a modified 25-day restriction stemming from a plea agreement he reached on a misdemeanor offense while a player for the Detroit Pistons.
If the Lakers guard complies with this new restriction, he is slated to miss the Lakers’ games at Houston on Dec. 20, at Houston again on Dec. 31 and at Minnesota on Jan. 1. The only other Lakers’ road game during the 25-day restriction — which was given to Caldwell-Pope following a court appearance in Michigan this past week — is at Golden State on Dec. 22. Caldwell-Pope will be able to play in that game since he will not be leaving the state.
Caldwell-Pope already has missed one road game due to the restrictionand was not with the team for the Lakers’ 121-112 loss at Cleveland on Thursday.
“With the court situation, we came up with the agreement that I still get to carry on with my season but only in the state of California for the 25-day restriction that I have,” Caldwell-Pope said after practice on Saturday. “I was blessed that I am able to continue to play ball.”
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. Caldwell-Pope left the Lakers following a game in New York last Tuesday to Michigan, where he learned he had to return to California and miss Thursday’s game in Cleveland to start an intensive program over the next 25 days with the intention of ending his probation early.
“It helps,” Caldwell-Pope said of 25-day restriction allowing him to continue to play basketball. “With the court situation, we came up with the agreement that I still get to carry on with my season but only in the state of California for the 25-day restriction that I have. I was blessed that I am able to continue to play ball.”
“It was always a possibility that I would continue to play,” the guard added. “I just had agreed to some restrictions in order for me to continue to play.”
“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.”
Caldwell-Pope, who signed a one-year, $18-million contract with the Lakers as a free agent, is averaging 14.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 36.1% from 3-point range. The Lakers have leaned on Caldwell-Pope, 24, to provide veteran leadership, turn the Lakers’ defense around and at times be the team’s closer in close games.
“He is one of those guys that hits big shots for us and when you are on the road you can stall out a little bit like we have a tendency to do from time to time and he is somebody that can get it going and hit two or three straight jumpers or make a big play on defense or get a steal for us,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “There are things from both ends of the floor that we will miss from him. But it was nice having him back with us today in practice.”
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 was suspended under the NBA’s personal conduct policy for the Lakers’ first two games of the season. The Lakers started rookie guard Josh Hart in place of Caldwell-Pope in Cleveland and Hart responded with a career-high 11 points and 10 rebounds in his first start.
“It has been very disappointing to me as well, as far as my teammates, I feel like I let them down as well, my coaches, the organization,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I just have to deal with this legal situation that came with it.”