Report: Pistons talking Andre Drummond trade with Hawks, other teams
Gores also surely thought Drummond and Blake Griffin would get Detroit into the playoffs this season.
Instead, the Pistons are 12-23. Even in the lowly Eastern Conference, that’s still 3.5 games and three teams behind postseason position. Detroit is closer to 14th place than eighth place.
So, the Pistons are facing hard choices.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Detroit and Atlanta have been engaged in talks on a trade centered on Andre Drummond, league sources tell ESPN. No deal imminent, but Detroit is talking to Hawks and several other teams on Drummond, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 3, 2020
Drummond has a $28M player option for next season that he is unlikely to exercise, forcing the Pistons to consider possibility of losing him in free agency. Among teams, there's an increasing belief that Drummond will be moved before February 6 trade deadline. https://t.co/s4PDchLVWV— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 3, 2020
Gores’ inclination is to avoid taking a step back. Detroit has a new arena that already draws relatively sparse crowds. The Pistons don’t want to tank and see attendance slip even further.
But they’re trying to win and failing, anyway. Considering trading Drummond is the very least they could do. He could leave them completely empty-handed in unrestricted free agency next summer.
In Atlanta, Drummond would be an awesome pick-and-roll partner with the dynamic Trae Young. Maybe John Collins will eventually become more of a center, but for now, he’d fit fine enough at power forward with Drummond at center.
The Hawks aren’t winning this season, either. They could (and probably should) wait until the summer to sign Drummond if they want him. But losing has caused frustration in Atlanta. The Hawks reportedly told Young they’d get him help. Acquiring Drummond now could aid the development of everyone else.
Atlanta has multiple interesting young players and two extra first-round picks. Chandler Parsons’ expiring contract could prove useful in matching salary. If enough other Hawks are involved, Evan Turner’s and Allen Crabbe’s expiring deals could also work. There’s room for these teams to strike a deal.
But will they ultimately agree?
Drummond was the Pistons’ franchise player until they traded for Griffin. Even after, with Griffin repeatedly sidelined due to injury, Drummond has been treated like a star.
I’m not sure the rest of the league holds him in such high esteem. He’s a great rebounder, but he’s extremely limited offensively. His defense is uneven. How many teams trying to win now need a player like that? And how many want to pay Drummond big money next summer? Though he’s just 26, players like him often peak early.
The Pistons discussing trading Drummond is a significant development. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually move him. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if – no matter how serious they are about exploring a move – there’s a chasm between how they value Drummond and how other teams value Drummond.