Pistons’ free agents not having a great summer

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 10: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 10: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope /

None of the Detroit Pistons’ free agents have had a summer to remember fondly, after Aron Baynes signed a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics.

The Detroit Pistons entered free agency with four free agents on the books. Aron Baynes opted out of his $6.5 million player option and became a free agent, Beno Udrih’s one-year contract had expired, Reggie Bullock and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were both restricted free agents.

Udrih was always unlikely to return, given that he’s 35 years old and other cheap third point guards can always be found on the market, and newcomer Langston Galloway’s point guard duties will replace him on the roster.

As for Baynes, he erred when opting out. In passing on his $6.5 million option, he ended up settling for a one-year $4.3 million contract with the Boston Celtics. While this may be a favorable outcome down the road, in the meantime he’s out $2.2 million for the coming season.

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Reggie Bullock was an underdog to return to the Pistons, a status which became exacerbated when they didn’t extend him a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. This was made worse when he was suspended by the NBA for the first five games of the 2017-18 season for violating the league’s drug policy. Whatever team eventually signs him (if any) will have to deal with him missing the first five games he is eligible to play.

As for the most surprising outcome thus far for free agent Pistons, that title belongs to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Instead of receiving a max (or near max) offer from any of a number of teams with max space and a need for 3-and-D shooting guards, the market has been tepid and KCP has found himself in a most surprising situation.

After declining an offer from the Pistons for five years and $80 million, the organization decided to move on rather than risk having to match a massive contract from an aggressive offering team like the Brooklyn Nets. Instead, the Pistons traded Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics for Avery Bradley and a second round draft pick.

This filled the Pistons’ need for a 3-and-D two guard, and allowed them to quickly move on from KCP. They renounced their rights to him and pulled his qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent, and the Pistons lost both his cap hold and match rights.

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Now, only the Chicago Bulls even have the space to offer him the max, and while a couple of teams are close to max space the majority of them have filled the positional need. Once considered to be a sure thing for a massive contract, the market for KCP’s services is a murky one indeed.