Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope becomes a restricted free agent on July 1, and many among the fanbase question whether or not he deserves the kind of contract he would most likely be seeking.
While fans of any sport for decades have played the “is player worth x-amount of money” game, it’s not often the man with the checkbook speaks out, but that’s exactly what Pistons owner Tom Gores did regarding KCP’s extension.
“I know Kentavious well. He is a hard worker. He is reliable and is improving every day,” Gores told the Detroit Free Press. “He should be a Piston. That’s just bottom line. He has what it takes to be a Piston. He was a shy kid when I met him, and he’s become a leader.”
Caldwell-Pope is having his best season since being drafted in 2013, averaging 14.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals. He is also shooting career highs in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free-throw percentage. He is also assigned to guard the opposing team’s best players on most nights, which obviously increases his value.
According to Caldwell-Pope though, he’s not concerning himself with the potential big payday to come.
“Right now, I’m just focused on the season,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I can only focus on what I can control. Being a restricted free agent next summer, that’s months away, so that’s the least of my worries right now.”
It will be interesting to see if having the owner’s blessing of sorts will cause KCP to ramp up his production to virtually guarantee himself the number he would be seeking, or if takes his foot off the gas thinking an extension is already in the bag.