3 Teams that could steal Kentavious Caldwell-Pope away from Nuggets this offseason

KCP has proven to be a champion as a role player and key starter for multiple teams. If he declines his player-option he'll be a hot commodity on the free agent market and the Nuggets may struggle to keep him.
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four
Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Four / David Berding/GettyImages
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As the dust settles on the Nuggets’ season and they try to figure out which direction to take this offseason, they’re going to have some tough decisions to make. But one decision that will have a massive impact on the franchise won’t be made by the front office or ownership. That crucial decision is the $15 million player option facing veteran starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

KCP has been an outstanding role player for the Nuggets, a reliable role player on offense, and an elite wing defender. He has been the perfect shooting guard and wing defender to round out the Nuggets starting lineup in recent years, and he’s a part of the reason the team won their first championship in 2023.

But that’s also why Caldwell-Pope is likely to decline his player option and become a free agent. The Nuggets will certainly do everything in their power to bring him back and retain their starting lineup, but the team is facing a massive financial bill and there’s a very real chance they get outbid on the open market.

There’s no telling what KCP wants and what he may value; perhaps he’ll take a discount to keep contending for titles in Denver. But he’ll be a hot commodity on a market scant for high-impact veteran players. There are a number of teams that would love to sign Kentavious this offseason, and here are three that have the means to make it happen and pose a real threat.

1.) Caldwell-Pope returns to the place where it all started, Detroit

Nobody would mistake the Pistons for a contending team, but they do need to start winning some games. The clock is ticking on their young core and Cade Cunningham. If any team needs a steadying veteran presence it may be Detroit. 

The team is chock full of young players and high lottery picks with Cunningham, Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, and others. But they lack leadership and a guy who can lead by example, especially on the defensive end. KCP could provide that in spades and the Pistons have the cap room to overpay him on a short-term deal.

Caldwell-Pope could also provide shooting for a team that desperately needs to put some spacing around Cunningham. Ivey is another guy who wants to get to the rim, Thompson is a great athlete and connective piece but not a shooter, and Duren is a traditional rim-running center.

KCP could round out the lineup very well and could embrace the chance to get a huge contract and go back to the team that drafted him while playing a prominent role on a team that’s looking to turn the corner. He could be a franchise savior of sorts in an odd way, and it wouldn’t be the worst fit imaginable. The Pistons have money to spend and likely won’t be able to woo the top players; Caldwell-Pope would be an outstanding consolation prize.