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Is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the Nets back-up plan?

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

If the Wizards match on Otto Porter, leaving the Nets with more than $30 million in cap space and no free agent signings, will Brooklyn move on to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ... and yet another offer sheet?

The Nets have long been rumored to be interested in KCP, like Porter 24 years old and a restricted free agent. There were some who suggested that the Nets could offer the max to deter the Pistons from matching.

They may not have to. Following a trade that sent Avery Bradley to Detroit, Brian Windhorst reports the Pistons may renounce his rights or not match. Bradley further complicates Detroit’s cap situation even more.

That’s the latest we’ve heard pn that front. As our sister blog, Detroit Bad Boys, wrote a few days ago, the Pistons have hard-capped themselves with the three-year $21 million signing of shooting guard Langston Galloway. That means a bid of $17 million could seal the deal for the Nets...

Here’s their analysis...

By using the full MLE, the Pistons hard-capped themselves. This is when we enter NBA finance purgatory.

The salary cap is $99,093,000 million. The luxury tax kicks in at $119,266,000 and the apron hits at $125,266,000. The Pistons already stand at $105 million in contracts before accounting for Caldwell-Pope.

By signing Galloway using the full MLE, the Pistons essentially committed to not passing the $125,266,000 threshold. Subtract a couple million for roster spots with minimum contract guys and the Pistons have about $17 million to offer KCP in year one. That is obviously much less than the $24 million KCP could be paid if offered a max deal.

That’s a big difference and some fans in Detroit can’t figure out what’s going on here. The Pistons have used the draft and MLE to bulk up a position KCP plays, the swingman role. In addition to signing Galloway, they drafted Luke Kennard out of Duke in the lottery. That’s a big investment.

Detroit Bad Boys offered three possibilities...

1. SVG and his staff examined the market and realized a big contract offer wasn’t coming for KCP and pulled the trigger on offering the Galloway deal.

2. The Pistons are willing to let KCP walk away if offered a contract about $17 million per year.

3. The Pistons have already readied a trade that would allow them to move salary to a team with cap space and open up additional room to offer KCP a larger contract.

None seem particularly palatable for Detroit at the moment, but as Thursday proved, things can move fast and past all manner of speculation.

Caldwell-Pope would fit into Sean Marks current strategy of “talent acquisition,” meaning go for the best players possible now and let Kenny Atkinson sort them out, and perhaps giving the Nets assets for future moves. The Nets do have a lot of guards and swingmen.

KCP is a solid performer on both ends of the court. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 assists. He shot 35 percent from three and has improved that number over the course of his four-year career. Caldwell-Pope also is one of the NBA’s most durable players. He’s played in 314 out of a possible 328 games. On the other hand, he’ll have to miss the first two games of the season, suspended after pleading to a DUI charge.

Who else might interest the Nets? Theoretically, of course. They’re not saying. Among those left are Mason Plumlee, the former Nets center; JaMychal Green, the Grizzlies power forward; Jonathon Simmons, the Spurs swingman; and Dewayne Dedmon, the Spurs back-up center.