Before the start of the season, Pistons owner Tom Gores let it be known that he wanted star center Andre Drummond, who can be a free agent in July, to stick around in Detroit long-term. But as the season has unfolded — and especially as the Pistons have lost eight of their last nine games — the team has shifted its focus toward testing the market on potential Drummond trades.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday that among the teams interested in Drummond are the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks, who have ample young talent on the roster but want to begin turning toward winning.
Drummond has averages of 17.6 points and 15.8 rebounds, which leads the league, this season for Detroit. He has double-doubles in 28 of the 33 games in which he has played. He has been an All-Star twice in his career, in 2016 and 18, and has a chance to earn a spot on this year’s team, at age 26.
Multiple Teams Showing Interest in Pistons’ Drummond
While the Pistons are accelerating their efforts to gauge the Drummond market, he has been on the trade radar for much of the year. In November, Heavy.com reported that Drummond had attracted interest from the Hornets, who had been monitoring him for the previous year.
The Mavericks have also shown interest in Drummond.
Drummond has a $28.7 million player option for next season but has made clear his intention to exercise it and become a free agent. It should be an interesting market, especially for him. In a relatively weak class of free agents, he’ll be the big name.
The Hawks would not need to trade for Drummond to acquire him. Atlanta will have more than $70 million in available cap space next summer, as albatross contracts belonging to Chandler Parsons and Evan Turner come off the books. That will allow the team to simply sign Drummond in free agency.
Similarly, the Hornets will have cap space this summer, with Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—players making $45 million this season—coming off the books.
Acquiring Drummond now would give teams like the Hawks or Hornets the advantage of offering Drummond a five-year contract in the summer, where other teams could offer only four years.
Drummond Trade Talks Highlight Pistons Disappointment
Gores seems to have changed his tune on his resolve to keep Drummond. Speaking to reporters at halftime of Thursday’s loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles, Gores acknowledged he and the front office would have to reassess the direction fo the team.
“Well, we have to look at everything because we’re not winning,” Gores said, according to the Detroit News. “So you’re not winning, to me, you have to assess everything. I think anybody would want to do that. And probably in the next month or so, we’re going to get together as an organization and just discuss things.”
Injuries have been a factor in the Pistons’ struggles. Star forward Blake Griffin has missed 18 of the team’s 35 games as he has dealt with persistent knee problems and starting point guard Reggie Jackson has played only two games this season because of a back injury.
Gores said that was not going to be an excuse for the team’s disappointing 12-23 record.
“We’ve had a hard time with health and everything else like that,” Gores said, “and we thought we could manage it a little better. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re not winning, and the record is the record, so we just have to keep plugging away.”