We have already talked a bit about the Andre Drummond trade, and a few days removed from the deal, feelings are largely unchanged. On the surface, the Detroit Pistons look like real losers. They gave away a star, home-grown center for basically nothing. This is simply not the case. In receiving Brandon Knight and John Henson, the Pistons actually got $15.6 million and $9.7 million, respectively, in expiring contracts.
Coupled with Drummond’s $28 million, which he may or may not have opted into, the Pistons are shedding over $50 million after this season. It is a very un-Detroit move, really. In a city riddled with expensive, multi-year contracts, it is a refreshing change of pace for a team to make a move for the sake of financial freedom. Will they lose a lot of games as a result?
Of course, but sports are a business, and Tom Gores, Ed Stefanski, and the rest of the front office have signaled they are committed to investing down the road. Whether they use that $50 million correctly remains to be seen.
In the inverse of the Pistons, the Cavs come away looking like suave dealers. They got a perennial rebounding champion, a nightly double-double machine in exchange for two players who combined for fewer than 10 points per game. The Cavs have already alluded they hope to build a future around Drummond. The confounding part, though, is what the Cavs will do with all their size. Between Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, the Cavs now have a glut of big men on the roster, which could be a concern.
The question is why not try to deal Love or Thompson on Thursday, knowing they had the Drummond deal in place, or even tried to package one in the deal to Detroit, if at all possible. What does this do for the rest of their season? The Cavs might see a bump in immediate wins–they may even catch Detroit, who probably will not be winning much at all–but a last-place finish still seems likely.
To varying degrees, the Central Division changed. One team is poised to win right now; others hope to make a run with what they have, while the rest are building for the future. One thing is for sure: it will painful for the Detroit Pistons to go up against Andre Drummond four times a year.