Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s trip to restricted free agency is one of the more interesting storylines to follow this offseason.
The Detroit Pistons have seemed like a team unwilling to match a major offer sheet for KCP based on the money the team will need to throw around elsewhere on the roster.
According to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, though, the Pistons will do whatever it takes to keep KCP on the roster:
Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has emerged as the safest player on the roster as he heads into restricted free agency.
The Pistons are prepared to match any offer sheet he receives, even if it produced a maximum contract, according to multiple persons with firsthand knowledge of the franchise’s thinking.
One person told the Free Press: “We can’t lose him.”
It’s interesting to hear the Pistons take this stance. KCP is only 24 and averaged 13.8 points per game last year while developing well as a perimeter defender. But the team needs the cash to keep guys like Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond in town as well.
Normally KCP wouldn’t cost too much. But as we’ve noted in the past, a suffering franchise like the Brooklyn Nets might make a gigantic offer in an effort to jump start a rebuild. Brian Lewis of the New York Post was one to make the connection:
Caldwell-Pope, 24, will be a restricted free agent, after he demanded more than $20 million annually and no deal was reached. The Vertical reported Detroit doesn’t want to give him a max contract, but it may not have a choice. The Post has confirmed the Nets’ interest and ESPN intimated they would go that high to get him.
The Pistons are going to need to open up the checkbook to keep the budding guard. While not the end of the world, the Pistons have put themselves in a position to suffer a bit of financial sabotage thanks to another franchise.
KCP, of course, is the biggest winner no matter what happens.