Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will miss the first two games of the 2017-18 NBA season serving a suspension “for pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, in violation of the law of the State of Michigan,” the NBA announced on Friday afternoon.
Caldwell-Pope, 24, was stopped just before 3 a.m. on March 29 in the suburbs of Detroit after an officer reportedly spotted him driving 45 mph in a 25 mph one. After a field sobriety test, he was arrested and taken to a nearby police station. After a test revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.08 — right at Michigan’s legal limit — Caldwell-Pope was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and released.
That charge was later dropped and replaced by a reduced charge of “allowing a person to drive under the influence” with an added charge of “careless driving.” He pleaded guilty to those lesser charges, and was sentenced last week to 12 months probation. With the case concluded in the criminal court, the NBA picked up its own investigation, slapping the former first-round pick with a two-game suspension without pay to start the upcoming season.
Caldwell-Pope will enter restricted free agency on July 1. The 6-foot-5-inch, 205-pound shooting guard averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game in Detroit last season, and is expected to field multiple lucrative offers from teams looking for capable defensive wings who can knock down perimeter jumpers.
The Pistons are apparently prepared to match any offer sheet KCP might sign in free agency, up to and including one that would pay him the maximum allowable salary under the collective bargaining agreement.
“We can’t lose him,” a team source recently told the Detroit Free Press.
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