After Pistons owner Tom Gores said earlier this week that retaining Andre Drummond beyond the 2019/20 season is a top priority for the franchise, he confirmed that the two sides are “talking at a business level,” writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.
Gores’ interest in hanging onto Drummond has been conveyed privately as well as publicly, according to Ellis, who hears from a pair of sources that the Pistons have told the veteran center’s representatives that the club wants to retain his services long-term. Having previously reported that Drummond’s camp had requested extension talks with Detroit, Ellis confirms that numbers have now been exchanged, though he adds it’s clear the two-time All-Star is looking for a max contract.
While Drummond didn’t explicitly confirm that he’s seeking a maximum-salary deal, his comments on Tuesday suggested that he believes his value is high and that he’ll be looking to maximize his earnings on his next contract.
“That’s the way anybody would see themselves,” Drummond said, per Ellis. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a basketball player. With the work you put in, you should be rewarded for it — no matter who you are. If it’s me or even a rookie. Everybody feels like they should make a maximum amount of dollars.”
Drummond’s optimal financial path might involve turning down his 2020/21 player option and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’d be eligible for a five-year contract worth up to nearly $202MM (based on the NBA’s latest cap projections) if he were to re-sign with the Pistons at that point. An extension with the team before then would max out at about $146MM over four years.
The 2020 free agent market projects to be weak, which could open the door for rival suitors to drive up the price on Drummond, but Sean Deveney of Heavy.com thinks a new deal in Detroit is the most likely scenario for the 26-year-old. As one front office executive points out, while there may not be many star free agents available next July, there also won’t be many contenders with cap room available for a max player.
“He just won’t have a lot of options,” that executive told Deveney. “Detroit won’t have a lot of options, either. There won’t be a lot of free-agent money and most of the teams that have it are rebuilding teams who might not want a big like him anyway. He’s kind of old-school and you have to be willing to make your roster around that. Detroit, that’s what they’re willing to do. He probably won’t get a better situation than what he has.”