The Detroit Pistons appear to be more flexible towards Avery Bradley this season than they were on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a year ago.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that the Pistons are more open to committing to Bradley long-term than they were to Caldwell-Pope, as long as Detroit lives up to expectations.
Detroit flipped Marcus Morris for Bradley in a trade with the Boston Celtics this offseason, signaling the end of Caldwell-Pope's four-year tenure with the team that drafted him, as the Pistons rescinded their qualifying offer to make him an unrestricted free agent. The Pistons had proved unwilling to meet Caldwell-Pope's asking price and replacing him with Bradley allowed Caldwell-Pope to sign a one-year, $18 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the 26-year-old Bradley, the Pistons have one of the league's elite perimeter defenders who put up career highs with 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 2016-17, but is entering the last year of a contract that will pay him approximately $8.8 million next season. The Pistons likely know how expensive Bradley is going to get starting next season, but Kyler believes they are more willing to pay up for Bradley than they were Caldwell-Pope, as they see as him as a superior talent.
One thing to watch is how the Pistons perform in the upcoming season. After taking a step back in 2016-17, the Pistons could be facing a rebuild if the team disappoints again. With Bradley on a cheap expiring contract, he could become a big trade chip around the deadline and help Detroit kickstart a roster overhaul.