The Pistons have been reluctant to meet Caldwell-Pope’s $25 million-plus asking price, and the acquisition of Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley on Friday liberated Detroit to let Caldwell-Pope leave the franchise.
The Brooklyn Nets are planning to be an aggressive pursuer of Caldwell-Pope, angling to pair him in a young backcourt with D’Angelo Russell, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers have serious interest too, if Caldwell-Pope is willing to accept a one-year deal to preserve the franchise’s salary-cap space next year.
Atlanta could create the cap space to pursue Caldwell-Pope, who is a native of Georgia and played at the University of Georgia.
The Lakers will pursue LeBron James if he opts for free agency in 2018, and James and Caldwell-Pope share an agent: Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
The Nets’ salary-cap space is occupied awaiting the Washington Wizards‘ decision to match a $106.5 million offer sheet to restricted free-agent forward Otto Porter. Washington is expected to match the sheet and retain Porter, league sources told ESPN.
The escalation of the Pistons’ payroll would’ve made it impossible for them to match an offer sheet without shedding contracts.
Caldwell-Pope, 24, has played four NBA seasons for the Pistons, averaging 13.8 points in the 2016-17 season — and 11.7 per game in his career. He’s regarded as a strong two-way offensive and defensive player.