Detroit Pistons: Trading Andre Drummond signals fresh start

Just when you think the Detroit Pistons are going to stand pat at the NBA trade deadline, they surprisingly ship center Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavilers.

It’s not much of a surprise that the Detroit Pistons moved Andre Drummond today, it’s shocking that it was to the Cleveland Cavilers.  Why on earth do the Cavs want to inherit Andre Drummond, especially when Tristan Thompson was rumored to be available yet didn’t move?  The Cavs already have a 31-year old Kevin Love rostered who carries a salary cap hit that averages $30-million for the next three seasons after this one concludes.

I struggle to find Cleveland’s angle in all of this.  They realize Drummond is likely going to opt-in to his $28-million player option at the end of this season, right?

I believe when the season started, and Andre mentioned he was excited to go ‘through the free agency’ process, he had every intention of opting out of his deal and testing the market.

He’s a smart man.  With the lack of interest over the last month, he must realize that he’s not going to receive a max deal if he opts out. If this were the 1970s, he’d warrant being one of the highest played players in the NBA, but for a center that struggles to score outside of five feet, who will willingly show up to his place with a Brinks truck?  Possibly the Atlanta Hawks?  Outside of Atlanta, I don’t see it, and that even seems like a stretch.

The move has brought mixed emotion throughout the fanbase.  It’s expected, this is sports we are talking about, and in a social media-driven world, I’d expect nothing less.

Whether you agree with the move or not, it was a move that needed to be made.  Andre Drummond is a phenomenal rim protector.  He’s a rebounding machine and can put up excellent offensive numbers inside of five feet.  He does miss way too many put-backs for a man his size. He is a player that will produce a spotty effort more regularly than the average player.

If his team is losing, particularly in the fourth quarter, he will, without a doubt, take his sweet time getting back on defense.  He’s way to engaged begging for calls at the offensive end, leaving his team to defend a plethora of odd-man rushes.  It may just be all the losing that’s taken its toll on him, but Detroit is a city that will recognize an athlete not giving it his all and won’t be shy to acknowledge it.

Andre grew up before our eyes, but this is a move that needed to happen.  Now the Detroit Pistons can move on into the offseason, not worrying about whether Drummond will be opting into that excessive $28 million player option.

The Detroit Pistons need to focus on a rebuild.  Andre Drummond is the focal point of the team produced a 19-34 record thus far this season.  Detroit wouldn’t win a championship with Andre making that kind of money.  He’s better served elsewhere playing as a teams’ the third option, rebounding and protecting the rim.

Needless to say, Andre wasn’t to impressed with the news;

The Pistons had to of mentioned to Andre that there would be a chance he’d be moved today.  Sure, maybe the Pistons brass didn’t have a chance to reach out to him before the news broke but in a social media-driven world, on a trade deadline day, the insiders would be getting the information as the Pistons brass was still finalizing the deal.  This wasn’t a surprising trade in mid-October, it’s the NBA trade deadline.  I think this reaction was more to the fact he was dealt to Cleveland or perhaps he’s just a bit sensitive – it wouldn’t surprise me in today’s world.

Detroit received guard Brandon Knight who had played with the Pistons in the past, John Henson (both expiring deals), and a 2023 second-round draft pick.

Forget about the return.  It’s the salary flexibility that becomes more important.  Also, IF he would have opted out, Detroit would have lost him for nothing.  Rather than cry the blues on social media, enjoy examining a player like Christian Wood, who will see a significant spike in playing time with Andre playing elsewhere.