On a night of barn burner games none ended in a more dramatic fashion than Oklahoma City and Memphis.
First, there only was overtime because of a Jerryd Bayless three at the end of regulation on a great stop move where Reggie Jackson bit on the pump fake.
Then in overtime it was back-and-forth and came down to one final shot, down one by Memphis. Mike Conley did a good job of getting Zach Randolph the ball in the post where he likes to work, he faces up and drives baseline and Nick Collison does a pretty good job to contest. He gets a little help on that from Kendrick Perkins.
But to help Perkins has to leave Marc Gasol on the weakside and there is nobody left who can handle his size and strength. Randolph’s shot goes a little long and Gasol is right there to give the Grizzlies a big win. In about the most dramatic way possible.
Rumor: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope demanding more than $20 million annually to sign contract extension with Pistons
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.
NBA sets record with 113 international players, a plurality from Canada, on opening-night rosters
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.