Multiple reports are being leaked that the Pistons are testing the trade market for coveted center Andre Drummond, averaging 14.7 PPG, 13.9 RPG, and a career-high 43.9% from the free throw line this season. At the 8th seed in the East, it seems believable the Pistons would want to trade away some pieces to avoid a first round death matchup with the Cavs.
But, are they willing to trade away their lottery pick from just a few years ago, who has turned into one of the best centers in the league? We’re going to have to wait until the trade deadline to find out; now, I will name out the top 3 teams who could use this elite, superstar-potential center:
Riding a 27-29 record and with a clear-cut talent deficit from the top 5 teams in the East, the Bulls seem on their way to a first round exit on the backs of breakout superstar, Jimmy Butler, and aging, yet solid, Dwyane Wade. Acquiring Drummond could hurt this team even more; spacing would somehow be even worse, with 3 slashers and 2 paint-controllers in the starting lineup in Michael Carter-Williams, D-Wade, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Andre Drummond.
However, if the Bulls moved a shooter into the starting lineup (“Dougie McBuckets” or Nikola Mirotic), the influx of talent could be enough to help this team compete in the playoffs. Also, pairing Butler with Drummond could be one of the best 1-2 punches in the league in a few years, attracting free agents to the Windy City.
Trade Package: Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis, Robin Lopez
The Wizards have been on an absolute tear recently, with wins in 14 of their last 16 games, including the game of the year against the Cavs in a highly competitive 135-140 OT loss. Already in solid position for home-court advantage in the playoffs, the Wizards could use a splash to challenge Cleveland for the Eastern Conference.
Replacing Marcin Gortat with Andre Drummond could create matchup problems for Tristan Thompson, Al Horford, and Jonas Valanciunas. Adding Drummond would also bulk up the interior defense, preventing LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, and DeMar DeRozan from coming into the paint without feeling Drummond’s presence (1.7 STL, 1.2 BLK, 97.8 DEF rating- 7th in NBA). Give it 1 more year, and I could see the Wizards come out the East.
Trade Package: Marcin Gortat, Tomas Satoransky, Kelly Oubre, Ian Mahinmi
New Orleans Pelicans
Sitting at the 12th seed in the West and entrenched in mediocrity with a 23-34 record, the Pelicans look on their way to wasting another year of Anthony Davis. Surrounding Davis with Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday for the past few years has led to up and down years, highlighted by a 0-4 first round sweep loss to the Warriors in 2015. Pairing Andre Drummond with Anthony Davis in the frontcourt and surrounding the team with shooters and perimeter defenders can be scary, à la Twin Towers Tim Duncan and David Robinson with Derek Anderson, Steve Kerr, and Bruce Bowen in the early 2000’s.
With sharpshooters E’Twaun Moore, Buddy Hield, and Jrue Holiday solidified in the backcourt rotation, the Pelicans may look to package a deal centered around Tyreke Evans for Drummond. However, with little draft picks and other assets in the forthcoming years, it will be interesting to see if the Pelicans could dupe the Pistons in a deal (We’ve seen worse...)
Trade Package: Tyreke Evans, Terence Jones, Omer Asik