Report: Detroit Pistons engaged in Andre Drummond trade talks with Atlanta Hawks

Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond and Atlanta Hawks Trae Young. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond and Atlanta Hawks Trae Young. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons are engaged in trade talks centered around Andre Drummond.

After a near-endorsement to rebuild from owner Tom Gores, the Detroit Pistons have been engaged with the Atlanta Hawks in trade discussions around Andre Drummond, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.

The Pistons (12-23) have lost nine of their last 11 games and after making the playoffs last season are off to a disappointing start marked by injuries. Significantly, Blake Griffin has missed 15 games after being an All-NBA selection last season and starting point guard Reggie Jackson has missed all but two games.

Drummond, 26, has stepped up and is averaging a career-best 17.8 points and 2 steals per game. His 15.8 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game and 1.8 blocks per game rank second among his career totals. Notably, he’s led the NBA in total rebounds in each of the past five seasons and total offensive rebounds the past six seasons.

Wojnarowski reported that teams around the league believe the Pistons will trade Drummond before the Feb. 6 trade deadline.

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The Hawks are a league-worst 7-27 and are bound to keep their own draft pick. They have extra draft picks, including Brooklyn’s 2020 first round pick that could entice the Pistons.

Drummond is making $27.1 million this season and has a $28.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season, should he choose to opt-in to his deal. He is likely the top free agent in the 2020 class, assuming Anthony Davis re-signs with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Detroit could move Drummond in order to ensure a return should he leave for free agency. Trading him before the Feb. 6 deadline would allow an acquiring team to retain Drummond’s bird rights to pay him an extra percentage of salary per season and add a fifth year that other teams could not offer.

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In terms of potential deals, the Hawks could easily match salary with Chandler Parsons, who is making $25.1 million on an expiring contract. Center Alex Len is also has a $4.1 million expiring contract. Evan Turner is expiring at $18.6 million and Allen Crabbe is expiring at $18.5 million.

It seems likely that the Hawks wouldn’t trade second-year sharpshooter Kevin Huerter or rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish as part of a young core with Trae Young and John Collins. Adding Drummond to the fold would provide rim protection, a legitimate pick-and-roll threat and the league’s best rebounder.

It is unclear what Hawks pieces are available in a potential trade. DeAndre Bembry could be a young wing the Pistons could acquire. He’s making $2.6 million this season and will become a restricted free agent at season’s end.

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One potential trade could include an expiring, Bembry and a pick. This gives the Pistons at least one young player to build off of and provide some wing depth to a team that desperately needs it. It also keeps the cap flexibility that Detroit could use to go after a restricted free agent, such as Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who the Pistons have already been rumored to have interest in.

The draft pick gives the Pistons a cheap option to add to a young core that includes Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya and Bruce Brown and help start a rebuild. While the Pistons have made the playoffs in two of the last four seasons, they haven’t won a playoff game since 2008.

While the Hawks have interest and the Pistons are gauging interest for Drummond, it’s clear that the Pistons have decided on a direction and believe that Drummond would test the free agent waters, which he indicated over the summer.

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The wheels are beginning to turn for the Pistons, who are in a year of transition and are choosing their path.