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NBA Free Agent Profile: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Shooting Guard | 6’5 | 24 yrs old | URFA | 13.8 ppg | 3.3 rpg | 2.5 ast

Before the off-season began, the Detroit Pistons were prepared to match any offer on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Oh, how the times change so quickly in the NBA.

After expecting to grab that max or near-max offer, KCP is now teamless. The sweeting shooting guard from Georgia was made an unrestricted free agent1 thanks to a slightly lower than expected salary cap, the 24 year old is left with very few landing spot options 2 after the Pistons renounced his rights 3 last Friday.

The Pistons made their move, betting on Avery Bradley and a little more long-term cap flexibility over KCP.

Now with KCP out free to sign anywhere he chooses, would a team like Dallas fly in unexpectedly and attempt to create the needed cap space to sign the dynamic shooting guard? Let’s go through what it would take to get KCP to Dallas & would it even be worth it?

Option 1: Trade Wes Matthews

KCP’s market looks pretty dried-up at the moment. No teams outside of Atlanta, Phoenix, and the Brooklyn Nets have the kind of capital to sign KCP to a long-term, high price deal. If he wants to take the one-year route, he and the Lakers may be a fit.4

The Mavericks could get involved by moving off of Wes Matthews contract. The organization has stated that they have no intent to do such a move but this is a business and KCP would be a welcoming addition to the current youth movement in Dallas.

Matthews is currently due $17.8 million for the 2017-2018 season with a player option for the following season at $18.6 million. After evaluating the market this off-season, you would have to think that Matthews would pick up his player option for the 2018-2019 season. Getting off the Matthews contract would be no easy task. 5 Attaching a future 1st round pick 6 with Matthews and his contract should do the trick. Would Brooklyn have an interest in KCP or Wes Matthews for 2 years and multiple draft picks?

Option 2: Extend KCP the Mid-Level Exception
Getting KCP at $8.4 million for one year in Dallas would be the shocker of the off-season. He was reportedly offered 5 years, $80 million by Detroit. In that same report, the money offered by Detroit wasn’t even close to what he and his agent Rich Paul are currently demanding. So to take an offer at least half of that is extremely unlikely.

But weirder things have happened in the NBA. The shooting guard market looks tight at the moment and we’ve seen examples of players who have taken a lot less for one season just to hop back into the free agent pool the following year. Look at Dion Waiters, he signed a 2-year $5.9 million dollar deal last off-season with the Heat. The deal included the all-important player option for the 2nd year. Waiters gambled on himself and now will make $52 million over the course of 4 years.

Players want to prove their worth & no better way than through their on-court play. Could KPC gamble on himself for 1 year at a low price?

Option 3: Renounce Nerlens Noel, let him walk & pursue KCP
The Mavericks have made it public that their number one priority this off-season is to sign Nerlens Noel. As the market continues to remain quiet, the Mavs and Noel continue their contract stalemate. Will a team end up offering Nerlens the full max? It won’t matter to the Mavs, they will surely match any offer for Noel. If they did for some odd reason decided to let Noel walk, KCP would certainly rise to the top of their free agent list.

In this scenario, Noel’s $10.9 million dollar cap hold would be off the Mavericks books, giving them additional room to sign KCP outright. By taking part in this maneuver, the Mavericks would be left with a massive hole at the center position. The likelihood of the Mavericks not reaching an agreement or failing to match an offer sheet with Noel is very small.

As much as KCP fits the Mavericks youth movement timeline, I would be very surprised if any of the three scenarios above came to fruition. The Mavericks off-season has been quiet — Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban and the rest of the Mavericks staff are keeping their options open and the powder dry for a potential splash in the summer of 2018.

As fun as it is to dream about a back-court duo of KCP and Dennis Smith — the reality is clear, KPC’s price is just too rich for the Mavericks blood.

  1. Pistons rescinded KCP’s qualifying offer
  2. Lakers, Nets, Hawks
  3. By renouncing the Pistons’ Bird Rights, KCP will not be re-signing with Detroit as an unrestricted free agent
  4. The Lebron to Lakers rumors continue to heat up, it’s worth noting KCP’s shares the same agent in Rich Paul.
  5. Nor as I stated, do I think the Mavs have any interest in trading Matthews
  6. Gulp, maybe 2 1st rounders

Staff writer covering the Dallas Mavericks | Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Received my Bachelor of Science in Sport Administration from the University of Cincinnati in 2012. NBA fan in a college basketball city. I've been a MFFL since the Nellie Days.

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