With just over a month left before the NBA trade deadline, another big name has hit the market.
The Pistons are engaged in trade talks with the Hawks centered around two-time All-Star Andre Drummond, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who says Detroit is also discussing Drummond with several other interested teams. There is an “increasing belief” among outside teams that Drummond will be moved before the Feb. 6 deadline, per Wojnarowski, though no deal is imminent.
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Drummond is averaging 17.6 points and a league-high 15.8 rebounds per game this season, but the Pistons (12-23) find themselves 3.5 games out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. The Pistons know Drummond could decline his $28.8 million player option for 2020-21, so they are apparently trying to acquire assets through a trade rather than lose him for nothing if he chooses to sign with another team this summer.
In a potential deal with the Hawks, salary-matching wouldn’t be too difficult. Chandler Parsons’ expiring contract ($25.1 million) is perfect if the Pistons are searching for cap relief, not to mention Evan Turner ($18.6 million) and Allen Crabbe ($18.5 million). Draft compensation would be involved, of course, but Atlanta could send a first-rounder acquired from Brooklyn to Detroit.
The biggest question might be how much the Hawks want Drummond. Atlanta could use a center to pair with Trae Young — John Collins profiles as more of a power forward — but why go all-in now rather than waiting until free agency? The Hawks (7-27) are in the East’s basement and rebuilding around their young core, so patience is key.
There are also questions for any Drummond suitors about how much his eye-popping stats directly impact winning. Fit and roster construction will be key for his future success, regardless of his final destination.