The Detroit Pistons went all-in when they traded for Blake Griffin in February of 2018. Just under two years later, nothing has gone right. Griffin had a career year in 2018-19, but his body failed him as the playoffs approached and Detroit was swept by Milwaukee in the first round. Three months into the 2019-20 season, things haven't gotten much better; the Pistons sit at 12-23 on the season while Griffin struggles with injuries, and the path forward for the team is murky.
Former top-10 pick Andre Drummond has been a consistent contributor over that timespan, but doesn't have the skillset required to win the team games on his own. He also has a $28 million player option at the end of this season that he seems likely to decline in order to test the free agent market, and it could be his last season in a Detroit uniform, considering the Pistons don't have a lot of cap space to work with. As such, Adrian Wojnarowski reported yesterday they had engaged in trade talks with the Atlanta Hawks involving Drummond, and Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports reported several other teams were interested as well.
The Pistons clearly don't want to lose Drummond for nothing, and a trade ahead of the deadline seems more likely than not at this point. He won't put up a lot of points and is still a suspect free throw shooter, but it's no exaggeration to say Drummond is one of the greatest rebounders of this generation and can at least operate as a deterrent on the defensive end of the floor due to his athleticism and propensity for steals. Here are three teams that could reach out to Detroit to acquire Drummond's services.
As ESPN reported, the Hawks are the only team that have officially engaged Detroit in trade talks for Drummond. They have the worst record in the NBA despite a second-year surge from Trae Young in a year where they were supposed to make tangible progress. Drummond is good friend with Young, and while John Collins has yet to reach anywhere near his potential, he's a bit undersized as a five against some teams and hasn't been able to stay on the court after a PED suspension and left Friday night's matchup with the Celtics with a back contusion. The Hawks would only have to send Chandler Parsons' $25 million expiring contract to make the numbers work, and could attach the Nets' lottery-protected first-rounder (which seems likely to end up in the low 20s at this point) as well to make it worth Detroit's while. Drummond would make an excellent pick-and-roll partner with Young, and his ability to suck up any rebound in his general space would take the load off Atlanta's cadre of young wings in their undersized starting five. This makes sense for both sides.
One of the teams rumored to be interested in Drummond, the Mavericks have made the jump from average to very good quicker than anyone imagined thanks to the MVP-caliber play of second-year superstar Luka Doncic. They want to capitalize on their window while it's there, and Drummond could help them do just that. He would fit well with Kristaps Porzingis, given the Latvian big man has spent far more of his time on the perimeter than down low this season, and would give the Mavs a traditional big man option against the bigger teams in the NBA. But if the Mavs wanted to land Drummond, they'd have to give up Tim Hardaway Jr., who has emerged as an important player for them, and also has two more years left on his deal with a yearly salary of $20 million-- and it's hard to say if Detroit would be interested in taking on an additional year of salary. The Mavs also don't have a lot going for them in the draft pick department after the Porzingis trade, but could offer up Golden State's second-round pick, which seems likely to end up at the very top of the second round this year. It wouldn't be the best deal on the table for Detroit, but they'd get something out of it.
Another team rumored to be interested in the former UConn star, Drummond fits Toronto's timeline and would give them an infusion of youthful talent in the frontcourt that they currently lack outside of Pascal Siakam. Matching salaries would be easy-- Toronto would only need to send Serge Ibaka's expiring deal to make the numbers work. The bigger question is what else they'd be willing to part with. They own their first-round pick this season, but would they be willing to take the risk of sending that asset for a player they'd have to pay big money to keep, if he wanted to stay at all? They do have a cadre of young players who have looked very good in limited time, but giving up this early on a player like Chris Boucher for Drummond is a risky maneuver. But if Toronto is dedicated to going all-in this season in an East that looks wide-open behind the Bucks, Drummond would be a big help. He could pick up defensive tips from Marc Gasol while hitting the boards and lead the second unit when Siakam hits the bench.