The Brooklyn Nets have a lot of room to fill and money to spend this upcoming offseason. Among the candidates to receive a hefty offer from the Nets is Detroit Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
After an astonishing loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, the Detroit Pistons just may have seen their playoff dreams diminish. But, as evidenced in the Pistons’ defeat, 24-year-old Kentavious Caldwell Pope is still an important piece to the team. Numerous teams in the NBA, including the Nets, have recognized this, and Caldwell-Pope may find himself in a black-and-white uniform next season.
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According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, the Nets are likely going to prioritize acquiring Caldwell-Pope this summer. Lewis cites scouts and former teammates who speak highly of the wing player as the primary reason.
Spencer Dinwiddie, the current starting point guard for the Nets in place of the recently-injured Jeremy Lin, was among the slew of former teammates who acknowledged Caldwell-Pope’s talent. Dinwiddie spent two seasons with the Pistons and briefly played alongside Caldwell-Pope before joining the Nets this season.
“You can make the argument that he’s their most important player now,” Dinwiddie told the Post. So I think that just shows you the impact that he’s had. He’s gone from defender to arguably their MVP.”
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In Tuesday’s loss, Caldwell-Pope scored 19 points and grabbed four rebounds, notching a double-figures performance for the second consecutive game. The is currently the Pistons’ fourth-highest scorer
Caldwell-Pope certainly fits into the direction of the Nets’ rebuild. He’s a young, versatile two-way wing, which seems to be a common trend on Brooklyn’s current roster–specifically with “Swing Brothers” Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
However, the caveat to Caldwell-Pope’s game is his poor shooting, as Lewis points out. While he is shooting a career-best 37.1 percent from behind the arc this season, he is only a 33.9 percent three-point shooter in his four-year NBA career. With three-point shooting being a major component of Kenny Atkinson‘s offense, Caldwell-Pope’s clip might ultimately not be good enough for Brooklyn to offer him a lucrative deal.
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Still, Atkinson was impressed with Caldwell-Pope; just not on offense.
“I love how he competes, how he competes on the defensive end,” Atkinson said to the Post. That’s really the essence of what I see when I watch him play. He plays with force, he competes on the defensive end.
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One thing the Nets won’t have to worry about if they do decide to go after Caldwell-Pope is money. They’ll have up to $33 million to spend, but where Caldwell-Pope ends up will come down to the Pistons’ actions come July. He will be a restricted free agent, so even if he draws interest from multiple teams, Detroit will have the final say in where suit up for the 2017-18 season.
The Nets have not had much luck at acquiring restricted free agents, which is most evident in last summer’s failures with Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe. Consequently, they may just end up constantly on the rumor mill to no avail and wreak more trouble for the Pistons to maintain Caldwell-Pope. But, one could argue that Brooklyn would not have all this money to spend this summer had they been successful at claiming Johnson and/or Crabbe.
With 12 games left in the 2016-17 season, Caldwell-Pope is actually not the first player the Nets are rumored to target this summer. In January, Lewis also reported that Brooklyn may take a jab at courting Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter. Nevertheless, there are still over three months that lie ahead until we can find out which players the Nets end up going after.