Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported the news Saturday, with a source saying, "We can't lose him."
Caldwell-Pope, 24, averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2016-17. He started 75 games and has started 274 of his 314 appearances since being selected No. 8 overall out of Georgia in the 2013 draft.
Almost nothing about Caldwell-Pope's NBA performance to this point indicates he's worthy of a max-level deal. He's a 40.5 percent shooter for his career and hits on 33.4 percent of his threes. While Caldwell-Pope set a career high in three-point percentage this season, it was only 35.0 percent—still below league average. That ranked 41st among the 51 players who took at least 350 threes, per Basketball Reference.
Caldwell-Pope has developed into a fine perimeter defender and solid worker in coach Stan Van Gundy's system. He's not an All-Defensive-level performer, but guys who can knock down the occasional three and play defense have value.
Van Gundy has the final say on personnel matters with the Pistons, so he will decide Caldwell-Pope's near future. The coach's track record so far when it comes to front-office decision-making has been spotty. Detroit would probably prefer to get out from under the contracts of Reggie Jackson and Boban Marjanovic, but it doesn't have any albatrosses hamstringing them into the distant future.
Caldwell-Pope is eligible only for the smallest maximum contract, which makes up 25 percent of the salary cap. That'd still be a ton of money for a player who has started as much out of necessity as anything else for most of his career. Even with the rapid rise of the cap, offering Caldwell-Pope a max deal seems risky at best.
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