Then they traded for Avery Bradley, who reduces Detroit’s room beneath the hard cap by $3,808,989 and becomes the third player – with Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway – added at Caldwell-Pope’s position this summer.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
This is a stark departure from Detroit’s reported plan entering the offseason to match any offer sheet Caldwell-Pope signs. But, by this point, this is far more expected.
Bradley is better and cheaper than Caldwell-Pope right now. But there’s major risk in choosing a 26-year-old one year from unrestricted free agency rather than locking up a 24-year-old long-term.
By rule, it’s unlikely the Pistons match an offer sheet for Caldwell-Pope now. They’re only about $7 million below the hard cap, and any offer sheet would start far higher than that.
But keeping Caldwell-Pope restricted would at least allow the Pistons the possibility of clearing cap space and matching. Though that’d be unlikely with Bradley already in tow, Detroit could make the judgment when presented with Caldwell-Pope’s offer-sheet terms.
Keeping Caldwell-Pope restricted also allows for the remote possibility he find no offers he likes this summer and takes the $4,958,374 qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. That’d give the Pistons another helpful contributor at a discount rate for next season, and they’d still fall below the tax. Even if he’s superfluous with Bradley and would possess the right to block trades, Caldwell-Pope would be too valuable to turn down at that price.
Still, that’s all unlikely. Caldwell-Pope will probably play for another team next season. Rescinding his qualifying offer would be a favor to him, making his exit go more smoothly.
If the Pistons are certain they won’t keep him – and they’re operating as if they are – they might just grant that accommodation.