Vince Carter taught Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes a bit of a lesson as the first half came to an end at Oracle Arena on Thursday, and we’re all a little better off because of it.
With the Mavericks playing for the last shot of the half as point guard Darren Collison dribbled down the clock at the top of the arc, Carter hung out in the corner, and appeared to be reaching down to check on an injury that may have occurred on a previous possession.
As it turned out, Carter was just fine.
Barnes checked on him a couple of times, but decided that Carter was indeed banged up and was going to sit this play out. So naturally, he went to help and double Elton Brand once he received the pass in the paint from Collison.
That’s when Carter made his move, cutting baseline and going up for the wide-open, two-handed slam dunk after receiving the perfect pass from Brand.
To be fair, Carter did appear to be in some pain, as evidenced by the fact that he made sure to come down gently from the rim before delivering his motorcycle-style celebration a little more softly than usual. But Barnes now knows that as long as a player remains on the court, he needs to be dealt with defensively — even if that player is acting like he’s too injured to participate.
There was gossip over the summer that it would take a deal worth north of $20 million per year to get Caldwell-Pope’s signature.
That’s not an unreasonable demand. It’s up to Caldwell-Pope whether he’d accept less in exchange for more security, but I think he’d get even more as a restricted free agent next summer – maybe even a max contract, which projects to start at more than $24 million.
Caldwell-Pope is a good shooting guard in a league with a dearth of quality wings and a greater need for them as teams go smaller. He’ll be just 24 next offseason, so his next deal should last through his prime.
His preseason didn’t foreshadow a breakout year. He remains a good defender and streaky 3-point shooter. But it’s possible Caldwell-Pope steadies his outside stroke and/or becomes an even more impactful defender. He could also improve his off-the-dribble skills, though his bread is buttered as a 3-and-D player.
Still, it won’t take massive improvements for Caldwell-Pope to hold value. To some degree, the Pistons could view every dollar under the max on a Caldwell-Pope extension as savings.
If his demands remain high, the Pistons could always take another year to evaluate the fourth-year guard. With matching rights, they can always re-sign him in the offseason.
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But Dallas didn’t make a stronger push to keep Parsons due to his knees. We could look back on this and chastise the Grizzlies for signing someone to a max contract who wasn’t even ready to play in the first place. They have big plans for Parsons, but he must play for those to work.