Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond has looked out of sorts, but that could change for the rest of the week against teams with reported trade interest.
Andre Drummond has looked anything but interested in playing for the Detroit Pistons over the last two games but his next two should look entirely different.
Drummond, who has been the focal point of trade rumors this month, was ejected against the Chicago Bulls, a game in which he ripped his jersey off. Then, on Monday, he was man-handled by Jahlil Okafor, who was averaging 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and dropped 25 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
It’s a long shot but Drummond could be effectively tanking in order to stay with the Pistons. He did express interest in staying in the Motor City amidst trade rumors and speculation, but his play has suggested otherwise.
Seven teams are reported to have some level of interest in trading for Drummond. He’ll get a chance to audition in front of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday and the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. The only other team the Pistons will play before the Feb. 6 trade deadline that have expressed interest is the Toronto Raptors, but that’s two weeks away.
If Drummond is as disinterested with Detroit as he’s looked, he has a reason to step up his play and activity level this week. It’s been a noticeable reversal from being the top teammate cheering his teammates on to being benched for his play against the Pelicans.
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Drummond, 26, is averaging a career-best 17.4 points per game and is, once again, leading the league in rebounding with 15.7 per game. He’s led the league in total rebounds the previous four seasons and offensive rebounding since he became a full-time starter in 2013-14.
He likely would have been traded to the Hawks already had they offered a first round pick. The Pistons want an asset in return for the league’s best rebounder but one hurdle is his expiring contract. He has a $28.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season but he’s stated his intentions to go through the free agency process. Teams are hesitant to part ways with future assets if they don’t have assurance that he will re-sign.
Drummond’s play over the next two games could change that, including against the Hawks. Atlanta could be swayed to trade for the big man if he has a dominant performance against them. A potential trade could set the Hawks up for a bright future pairing Drummond with Trae Young, John Collins and their young wings.
The next two games will be telling for Drummond, as will the next three weeks leading up to the trade deadline.