Detroit Pistons Offseason Priorities Start With Andre Drummond


Stan Van Gundy definitely made his mark on the Detroit Pistons this season. The Pistons President was able to shed the teams cumbersome big money long-term deals while managing to remain competitive.  With the end of the regular season following Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks the attention turns toward transforming the Pistons form perennial lottery player to playoff contender.

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The Pistons have no long-term contract obligations on the roster extending beyond the 2017 season. The contracts they do have on the books (save Brandon Jennings) are palatable. This Pistons are a blank canvas on which Stan Van Gundy can create his master piece.  But which brush will he choose to start his Picasso?

Andre Drummond is a 2012 lottery pick and just 21 years old.  He has superstar potential and with his contract expiring following the 2016 season its decision time for the Pistons.  Is Andre Drummond a player the team can build around? If the answer is yes then they must offer him the max contract every player covets at this point in their career.  If  the answer is no they must trade him now to avoid a Greg Monroe type situation in 2016.

Detroit Pistons fans should remember well the drama that played out last offseason with Greg Monroe’s foray into restricted free agency.  After Joe Dumars and the Pistons reneged on their promise to make Monroe the center piece of the franchise by offering him a max deal, the former first round pick tested the waters of free agency. But the threat of the Pistons matching any deal that came Monroe’s way was enough to cool the market and force Monroe to sign a one-year qualifying offer with Detroit.

Relations between Monroe and the Pistons seemed to improve over the course of the season but rumors are already swirling that the Pistons forward is preparing to leave Detroit even before the final buzzer sounds on the 2015 season. The New York Knicks have always been interested in Monroe. Now that they can negotiate with him without restrictions they plan on making a big push to land the Pistons big man in the big apple.

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"Maybe the worst kept secret in the NBA is that Phil Jackson plans to pursue Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe in free agency this summer. In fact, one league executive called it “about as close to a done deal as you can get.”"

The pending departure of Greg Monroe makes taking action on Andre Drummond an urgent necessity. The Pistons (under Joe Dumars) ruined their relationship with Monroe through inaction and are on the verge of losing him with no value in return.

If the Pistons fail to extend of trade Andre Drummond they risk the same result. They could also risk having another drama play out in the media just when the fans are starting to forget about the franchises recent failings.

The preferable action is to extend Andre Drummond into a long-term deal but a trade would also be acceptable. At Drummond’s current cap hit the Pistons could get high value for their center.  Something to consider if Stan Van Gundy thinks the team is still a couple of seasons away from actually competing.

SVG has said that signing Greg Monroe is the top priority.  Something he has to say publically in an attempt to heal the wounds of the past and sign Monroe for the future.  My guess is that privately Van Gundy understands that the key to completing the rebuild is Andre Drummond. As soon as Greg Monroe signs elsewhere, expect SVG to take action to secure the value in Andre Drummond.