The Detroit Pistons hope Andre Drummond bounces back from a down season. I’m sure Drummond feels the same way after suffering through a season where the team and player was supposed to be ascendant but instead disappointed in just about every way possible.
As coach and president Stan Van Gundy looks to recover from last season’s step back, he has apparently made the big man available on the trade market. There were indications Drummond was made available at last season’s trade deadline and a new report indicates those feelers were still out there at the dawn of free agency.
In a piece detailing the Pistons offseason, primarily surrounding the restricted free agency of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Washington Post writer Tim Bontemps touched on the Drummond situation.
While Detroit was figuring out what to do with Caldwell-Pope, the team also took calls on center Andre Drummond, who — like virtually everyone else with the Pistons — disappointed last season. But owner Tom Gores is a huge fan of Drummond, a starter in the 2016 All-Star Game. With many teams sensing dissatisfaction with the big man from Coach and team President Stan Van Gundy, none of the offers merited a serious discussion about Drummond’s future with the franchise.
Editor’s note: As has been pointed out numerous times in comments and by our own Steve Hinson in Slack, Drummond made but did not start the All-Star game. That is an error on Bontemp’s part, and I apologize for not catching and pointing it out sooner.
It’s unsurprising the team would be willing to move on from Drummond and equally unsurprising that they wouldn’t pull he trigger on a deal unless it returned some decent value.
This is the same Van Gundy who stretched Josh Smith as opposed to taking on another team’s junk in return, who let Greg Monroe sign the qualifying offer and walk away instead of grab a deal for pennies on the dollar and whose method of shaking up the core was to move on from his two favorite players in Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in order to secure value and bring in Avery Bradley.
Hopefully, with another offseason of training, a re-calibrated Pistons offense and a healthy Reggie Jackson can get Drummond back on SVG’s good side and the idea of shopping him becomes a relic of the past.
Speaking of Caldwell-Pope, Bontemps also touches on Detroit’s perspective on the young guard heading into this year’s free agent market. It’s also a pretty excellent synopsis of why a lot of Pistons fans were higher on the Bradley trade and losing KCP than many national pundits were.
That sounds like a player [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] that a team would like to keep, right? From the moment the offseason began, it seemed like that wasn’t going to happen in Detroit. The Pistons drafted a shooting guard — Duke product Luke Kennard — with the No. 12 pick in last month’s draft, then signed combo guard Langston Galloway to a three-year, $21 million deal on the Opening Day of free agency. That deal left the Pistons under the restrictions of being hard-capped, preventing them from matching any offer to Caldwell-Pope.
Detroit was fine with that, though, because it was comfortable with its offer, a five-year deal in the range of $80 million, and wasn’t interested in making Caldwell-Pope a max offer as a restricted free agent. Once the Pistons traded Marcus Morris to the Boston Celtics for Avery Bradley — a move Boston needed to clear room for Hayward’s signing as a free agent — there was no apparent future for Caldwell-Pope with the Pistons, and his qualifying offer was pulled a short time later.
Despite the reasons to be optimistic about Caldwell-Pope’s future, it’s easy to understand why Detroit went this route. The Pistons’ offer was in line with average starter money at the position but clearly not consistent with the hopes of Caldwell-Pope’s camp. Paul, a tough negotiator who has won his fair share of battles, clearly had a number he was gunning for, and Detroit’s offer wasn’t it. Then there’s Caldwell-Pope’s shooting. He never shot better from behind the three-point line than the 35 percent he posted last season; he’s a career 33.4 percent shooter from deep and just a 40.5 percent shooter overall. Bradley, on the other hand, is a career 44.2-percent shooter, 36.6 percent from three-point range, and has shot better than 35 percent from deep in five of his seven seasons.
Lastly, Bontemps touches on young Stanley Johnson. Unlike, a piece where I went down the rabbit hole and guessed Van Gundy would start Tobias Harris at small forward, Bontemps says that Johnson is “penciled in as the team’s starting small forward.” This goes along with a pretty large consensus that views the small forward job as Johnson’s to lose.
The piece also provides a rundown of a lot of great stories percolating through the NBA right now including LeBron James to LA (including the KCP Klutch Sports connection), Carmelo Anthony’s future, Lonzo Ball shining bright, Dennis Smith Jr. as the next Derrick Rose and playoff seeding.