Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s likely free agency suitors

Apr 12, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic forward Terrence Ross (31) defends during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic forward Terrence Ross (31) defends during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons have indicated that they plan to match any offer sheet presented to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but where might those offers come from?

The Detroit Pistons have been nothing if not forthright about their intention to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this summer. Caldwell-Pope becomes a restricted free agent, which means that any team with the cap space to do so has the opportunity to present him with an offer sheet. The Pistons have the final say, however, because they have the right to match any offer and that allows them to retain his services.

While Caldwell-Pope has indicated since the beginning of last season that he’s aiming for a contract north of $20 million per season (and the max he’s likely to receive may be an even stiffer bill than that), he had a major swoon over the last couple months of the season that may cause suitors to tone down the amount they’re willing to shell out.

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The Brooklyn Nets are a team with cap space and a significant talent deficit, and they’ve indicated that he’ll be among their top free agent targets this season. After his poor output over the season’s last 10 weeks, will the Nets still be willing to break the bank and thus drive his price into the stratosphere?


The Nets made both Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson rich men last summer as they presented offer sheets to both players, only to have their original teams match their offers to retain them. After striking out twice in one summer on shooting guards, there’s nothing to keep the Nets from shooting their shot for KCP this time around.

Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale broke down the most likely options to present themselves to the top 25 NBA free agents this summer. This includes KCP, who checked in at No. 14 on the list. Favale explored how he could fit with potential suitors, including the Nets, the Pistons and the Phoenix Suns.

Favale details the appeal of the Brooklyn Nets:

"On the off-chance his initial offer compels the Pistons to pass, Caldwell-Pope needs to latch onto the right team. That’s the Nets in this case.They have the cap space to dole out a max offer sheet, and Atkinson will have him running more pick-and-rolls than Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy. Even his defensive assignments will get easier—a direct result of syncing up with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert."

That’s pretty appealing. KCP would get to be part of an organization on the rise from the ashes of obscurity (something you could also say applies to the Pistons), he’ll get more opportunity as a primary ball-handler and he won’t have to carry as much of the load defensively as he does partnered with Reggie Jackson.

Mind you, no part of this decision will be up to him. If the Pistons feel the price is right and want to keep him, the Pistons get the final say.

Favale had some things to say about the Pistons prospects as well.

"Detroit isn’t a bad situation for Caldwell-Pope. Van Gundy knows he’s the team’s most important defender, and he saw more time as the primary ball-handler during a season in which Reggie Jackson never looked right."

KCP took strides as a primary ball-handler last season, particularly in the early portion of the season when Reggie Jackson was out with knee tendinitis. In fact, his production from the pick and roll was in the 70th percentile, scoring 0.88 points per possession. It could benefit the Pistons considerably to utilize him more as the primary ball-handler next season. That is assuming, of course, that the Pistons do in fact re-sign him.

The final suitors suggested by Favale were the Phoenix Suns.

"The Suns would be even more appealing to Caldwell-Pope if there were an opportunity for him to be a lead ball-handler. But there isn’t—not with Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker running the show.Still, Phoenix can plug Caldwell-Pope into a role almost identical to what he’s done in Detroit. He’ll guard the players Booker cannot, drain threes off the catch and, depending on what the Suns have in store for Brandon Knight, see some time as the quarterback in second units."

It’s not the worst opportunity, but he can be featured more (at least in theory) with the Detroit Pistons. Again, it all comes down to whether or not there is a price to high for the Pistons to pay, but it’s interesting to visualize how other teams might be able to utilize Caldwell-Pope if they had the chance.

Related Story: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope season in review and grade

Time will tell as we’re nearing the end of the playoffs and the start of free agency, but we’ve yet to hear anything from the Detroit Pistons organization to indicate a lack of interest to pay whatever it takes to retain him.