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Is a Nets bid for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope inevitable? Sounds that way

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How sure are NBA types that the Nets will make a bid for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Pistons’ 6’5” shooting guard? A couple of weeks ago, Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst got together on an ESPN podcast and the conversation turned towards KCP’s restricted free agency.

Lowe said he expected a max deal for the guard who’s averaging 14.2 points so far this year, on 37.1 percent shooting beyond the arc.

"K.C.P. I was in Detroit two weeks ago. They're already joking how fast will the max offer sheet for K.C.P come from Brooklyn Will it be one minute, five minutes after the allowed deadline for offer sheets?”

Inevitable? We shall see, but the Nets are definitely interested in upgrading at the 2 guard, using their estimated $33 million in cap space. And the Pistons might not be willing to match such a big offer when they’re already committed to Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson.

So, the 24-year-old Caldwell-Pope could be a reasonable candidate for an unreasonable contract. The Nets seem to be ready to fix their backcourt first, adding athletic combo guards like K.J. McDaniels, Archie Goodwin and Spencer Dinwiddie, none older than 24, and scouting European sensation Milos Teodosic. Not to mention rookies Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead.

Caldwell-Pope has already turned down an offer from Detroit, wanting $20 million a year. And this is a case where a big offer might scare away a team from matching the Nets offer. With already more than $100 million expected to be tied up next season, a max contract for Caldwell-Pope would likely put the Pistons over the luxury tax.

But the Pistons might decide they have to, as Dinwiddie, a former teammate and current Net, told the Post’s Brian Lewis.

“You can make the argument that he’s their most important player now. So I think that just shows you the impact that he’s had. He’s gone from defender to arguably their MVP,” said Dinwiddie.

Kenny Atkinson had nice things to say about KCP to Lewis after he scored 19 points in the Nets win over Detroit.

“I’m impressed,’’ Atkinson said. “I love how he competes, how he competes on the defensive end. That’s really the essence of what I see when I watch him play. He plays with force, he competes on the defensive end.

“On a given night he can get 35 on you easily. His speed off the ball, coming off those [dribble handoffs], flying off and somehow [you’re] going to have to find a way to stay attached, stay close to him.”

There are some changes to the RFA process under the new collective bargaining agreement. Under the old CBA, teams had 72 hours to match. Now it’s 48 hours and teams can tender the offer as early as 12:01 a.m. on July 1.