Fresh off their first playoff appearance since 2009, a first round sweep that felt like the team is heading in the right direction, the Pistons find themselves in a very fortuitous position. They have an extremely young core -- one of the youngest in the NBA — and they have almost all of their “core” players locked up for multiple seasons going forward.
One member of the young core who is not locked up, though, and who is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer, is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team’s starting shooting guard. KCP and the Pistons have until Oct. 31 to get an extension worked out or KCP becomes an RFA next summer.
KCP admits he has some work to do on his game and, coincidentally, to strengthen his own core after suffering a core strain in February of last season.
According to David Mayo at MLIVE, KCP “seems perfectly willing to gamble on himself” a la Greg Monroe, which may put the Pistons in a tougher position and may even force them to consider trading KCP at the trade deadline next year in fear of being left with no other option during the offseason but matching an offer sheet salary out of their desired price range.
But if an expensive price tag comes attached to KCP, billionaire owner Tom Gores seems more than willing to pay the luxury tax if he has to (via Freep).
“Look, if we weren’t building a core, there’s really no point in paying the luxury tax,” Gores said. “Because we are building a core, would I do it? Yeah, absolutely. …
“So you say go into the luxury tax for nothing, then that would be silly because then we’re putting the franchise behind. But given that we have such a good core, if that’s what it took, and we feel we’ve made such progress this year, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it because we want to keep getting better.”
KCP is currently with Gores and his Pistons teammates at a beach house (Gores’?) and they appear to be connecting well -- I mean, look at this screenshot from Drummond’s Instragram story, Gores in a cut-off tee lofting a perfect beach lob to a streaking KCP:
KCP may be wearing a Messi jersey on the beach, but don’t expect negotiations to get messy. (See what I did there?) The Pistons want KCP, KCP probably wants to be a Piston -- why wouldn’t he??? — and Gores is willing to pay luxury taxes for him. It’s only a matter of time, right?
We’ll see in September or October if anything gets worked out.
I think something will get done.
(For what it’s worth, from what it looks like as of now on Spotrac, only the Cavs and Blazers will pay luxury taxes next season.)
Now your thoughts.