Pistons, Andre Drummond Not Planning Extension

Andre Drummond wants to wait until next summer to talk contract with the Pistons instead of signing an extension before the November 2nd deadline, Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy told reporters today, including Keith Langlois of Pistons.com and Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). The lack of an extension will give the Pistons more than $12MM in additional cap flexibility for next summer, Langlois notes (Twitter link). Regardless, Drummond has been likely to get a new max deal with the Pistons, whether through an extension this fall or a new contract in restricted free agency next summer, as Ellis recently explained to Hoops Rumors.

“Andre wants to be here long term,” Van Gundy said, according to Langlois (Twitter link). “He … wants us to have the flexibility to continue to add people to this team.”

Pistons owner Tom Gores referred to Drummond this past spring as a “max player,” so it’s clear how much the team values the Jeff Schwartz client. At issue is the size of his cap hold, which will remain at $8,180,228 until he signs a new deal. The projected maximum salary for a player with Drummond’s years of experience for next season is $20.4MM, and if Drummond were to sign an extension this fall, that number would count again the cap for the Pistons, limiting their flexibility. Keeping him unsigned allows the Pistons to sign others and then follow up and sign Drummond, or match any offer sheet he signs with another team, via Bird rights. The Spurs pursued a similar path with Kawhi Leonard this summer, allowing them to sign LaMarcus Aldridge. Leonard re-signed with the Spurs for five years at the max after Aldridge signed his contract with San Antonio.

Van Gundy cited $12.7MM as the amount of extra cap flexibility the Pistons will reap from delaying a deal with Drummond, Langlois notes (Twitter link). That’s perhaps an indication that either the Pistons, the league or both foresee a slightly higher than projected cap for 2016/17, since the difference between Drummond’s cap hold and the current projected max is only about $12.2MM.

In any case, the Pistons were willing to let Drummond decide whether to do an extension, as Ellis wrote this summer. Initially, it appeared that he wanted to go ahead with a deal this fall, and that seemed the likeliest outcome, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors wrote when he looked at Drummond’s extension candidacy. Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago, a former Pistons beat writer, hears that ex-agent Arn Tellem, who joined the Pistons organization as an executive this summer, worked to convince Drummond to delay his signing (Twitter link).

The danger, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe points out, is that Drummond signs a short-term offer sheet that would allow him to hit free agency sooner than the Pistons would like (Twitter link). Still, Van Gundy cited Drummond’s trust in Gores, Langlois notes (on Twitter). The team has consulted Drummond on almost every major move, and Gores and Drummond see themselves as partners, Ellis tweets.

The Pistons already have about $42MM in salary commitments for 2016/17, and that number will rise to more than $48MM if they pick up their team options on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Bullock. The salary cap is projected to rise to $89MM next season.

Do you think waiting until next summer to do a deal is a wise choice for both sides? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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