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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope intends to sign 3-year, $66 million deal with Magic: Sources


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope intends to sign 3-year, $66 million deal with Magic: Sources

Fresh off a narrow first-round playoff exit, the Orlando Magic upgraded their defense, durability and outside shooting on Sunday when they agreed to a three-year deal, $66 million deal with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, league sources said.

Caldwell-Pope, 31, almost certainly will slot as the Magic’s new starting shooting guard, replacing Gary Harris, whose tenure in Orlando was marred by injuries.

Caldwell-Pope may be the ideal role player to add to a young nucleus that includes All-Star power forward Paolo Banchero, small forward Franz Wagner and combo guard and defensive standout Jalen Suggs.

Although Caldwell-Pope, who is 6-foot-5, hasn’t received much recognition on NBA All-Defensive team voting in recent years, he’s widely regarded as one of the league’s most tenacious and most reliable perimeter defenders, someone who can match up against an opponent’s top wing scorer.

He also is one the league’s better wing 3-point shooters. Over the last four seasons, Caldwell-Pope made 40.6 percent of his 3-point tries on 4.5 attempts per game.

Three-point shooting was an area of significant weakness for the Magic last season. Orlando finished the 2023-24 regular season 24th in the league in 3-point shooting percentage, making only 35.2 percent of its attempts.

In the playoffs, with the Cleveland Cavaliers packing the paint and daring the Magic to attempt long-range shots, the Magic sank only 30.9 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Caldwell-Pope made significant contributions to two NBA championship teams, the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers and the 2022-23 Denver Nuggets, as a starting wing. But he’s also known for his unselfishness; because he ranks as a lower-usage wing, he shouldn’t take away from Banchero’s and Wagner’s shot attempts while also serving as an additional ballhandler and decision-maker when necessary.

Caldwell-Pope, who spent the last two seasons with Denver, also is durable. He’s played either 76 or 77 games in each of the last three regular seasons. He’ll fit in well with the Magic’s rugged defense, which finished the 2023-24 regular season third leaguewide in defensive efficiency.

The third season in Caldwell-Pope’s new deal will be a player option.

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(Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

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