Andre Drummond

Charania’s Latest: Rockets, Mavs, Drummond, Pelicans

Although James Harden is in his eighth year with the Rockets, it has been newcomer Russell Westbrook who has “taken the initiative within the locker room” as of late, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Sources tell Charania that Westbrook has delivered “several passionate messages” to the team and has emerged as a leader. There’s no indication that’s been a problem for Harden, with Charania suggesting there’s a “renewed closeness” between the Rockets’ two star guards.

“Russell’s a good leader, and we’ve needed the motivation,” a Rockets source told The Athletic, referring to the team’s up-and-down recent play.

With the trade deadline approaching, the Rockets continue to explore the trade market in search of upgrades. Sources tell Charania that Houston is specifically looking for a wing and continues to make future draft picks available in discussions.

Here’s more from Charania’s most recent article:

  • Rival teams believe the Mavericks are looking to open up a spot on their 15-man roster for added flexibility, according to Charania, who reiterates that Dallas is in the market for a wing and/or a big man. The Mavs could go the free agent route to acquire a big, Charania adds.
  • The Pistons don’t appear to have any momentum toward an Andre Drummond trade. We previously heard that the Hawks and Knicks have pulled out of the Drummond sweepstakes, and Charania suggests that’s the case for the Celtics too. Sources tell The Athletic that no teams have made the Pistons a quality offer that meets their asking price of a first-round pick or a good young player.
  • The Pelicans are telling teams they want to evaluate their current core for a longer period of time now that everyone is healthy, per Charania. It’s unclear if New Orleans will reconsider that stance at all before the February 6 trade deadline.

O’Connor’s Latest: Gallinari, Mavs, Sixers, Drummond, More

Multiple playoff teams have expressed interest in Danilo Gallinari, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who hears from league sources that the Mavericks and Sixers are two clubs who have made inquiries on the Thunder forward.

Gallinari entered the season looking like one of the NBA’s most obvious trade candidates, but the Thunder’s strong play has complicated the equation. It’s unclear how eager Oklahoma City will be to move one of its key contributors now that the team appears headed for a spot in the postseason.

As O’Connor points out, a lack of projected league-wide cap room this summer means the team with Gallinari on its roster to finish the season will likely have a significant leg up to sign him, thanks to his Bird rights. It remains to be seen if a team like Dallas or Philadelphia has the assets necessary to pry Gallinari out of OKC, but if a club makes a deal for him, the plan would presumably be to re-sign him in the offseason.

O’Connor’s article is ostensibly focused on the Mavericks’ need to add a third impact player to complement Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but it includes a handful of noteworthy tidbits, not all of which are Mavs-related. Let’s round up a few other highlights…

  • As a report last week confirmed, the Hawks and Pistons had been discussing a trade that would have sent Andre Drummond to Atlanta for a package headlined by Chandler Parsons‘ expiring contract and the Nets’ lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick. Multiple league sources tell O’Connor that the Hawks ended up being unwilling to include that first-rounder due to concerns about how high Drummond’s contract demands are.
  • The Mavericks have made offers to the Timberwolves for Robert Covington, but have been turned down, according to O’Connor. While O’Connor doesn’t have the specific details on Dallas’ offers, I imagine they’d start with Courtney Lee‘s expiring contract and the Warriors’ 2020 second-round pick. The Mavs’ first-rounders are tied up for trade purposes until at at least 2025.
  • Despite denials that they plan to pursue him, league sources continue to view the Mavericks as a potential landing spot for Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala, writes O’Connor. Dallas is one of the few contending teams that is well-positioned to make a trade offer for Iguodala rather than waiting for a possible buyout.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Mykhailiuk, Drummond

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson has been medically cleared to return and could return to action this week, head coach Dwane Casey said today (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News).

A lot of is going to depend on Reggie,” Casey said. “He’s been in practice dunking on people and talking more than anybody else, so I’ll be glad when he gets back.”

Jackson, 29, appeared in just two games at the start of the season before being sidelined with a back injury. In his absence, Bruce Brown has emerged as the Pistons’ starting point guard and Derrick Rose has become one of the team’s most important contributors, so it’ll be interesting to see how Casey adjusts the rotation when Jackson – who is in a contract year – is ready to go.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, acquired from the Lakers nearly a year ago in a deadline deal for Reggie Bullock, is cementing himself as a part of the Pistons’ long-term future, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The second-year sharpshooter has knocked down 44.5% of his three-point attempts this season and has taken on an increased role in the last month, averaging 27.9 minutes per game since December 20.
  • As trade rumors continue to swirl around Pistons big man Andre Drummond, Dwane Casey looked to put a positive spin on the chatter and speculation, as A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston details. “If you’re doing anything in this league your name is going to be out there,” Casey said. “At the end of the day on the 1st and the 15th, you’re getting paid by the team you’re with. So, you have to do your job each and every day. There’s no reason to be upset with anybody. It’s a business; we understand that. We’re all professionals. We have a job to do.”
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News explores what the next steps are for a Pistons team that is just three games out of the playoffs in the East and hasn’t yet picked a lane for the trade deadline.

Trade Rumors: Bucks, Rockets, Covington, Heat, More

With teams around the NBA looking for ways to upgrade their roster in advance of the February 6 trade deadline, Chris Mannix of SI.com wonders whether the 37-6 Bucks would be better off just standing pat. As Mannix notes, most general managers are inclined to give stock answers about being opportunistic and always looking for favorable deals, but Milwaukee might not want to even risk disrupting the team’s chemistry.

“The stock answer is true,” Bucks GM Jon Horst told Mannix. “Of course we are going to look around. Of course we are going to do our jobs. But we are going to be incredibly patient and incredibly protective of what we have. I think that’s fair and I think that’s smart. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to do anything or that we shouldn’t do anything. But we have guys here that have shown they can impact games.”

Here are a few more notes and rumors related to the NBA’s trade market:

  • The Rockets have shown previous interest in Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, but that interest has cooled and Houston isn’t currently pursuing him, an executive with knowledge of the team’s thinking tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe thinks the Heat are one player away from being “really dangerous” and hears from sources that the team is actively looking for that piece. According to Lowe, there has been plenty of speculation around the NBA about Miami – and other teams – targeting Jrue Holiday, but potential suitors don’t expect the Pelicans to move him this season.
  • The Hawks‘ trade interest in Andre Drummond – which has apparently ended – was believed to be more ownership-driven, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who says the Pistons don’t have any real traction on a Drummond deal for now. Within his mailbag, Mannix also says he’d be surprised if the Warriors move D’Angelo Russell before the 2020 offseason.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com says he’s gotten the sense that the Cavaliers have set an “internal price tag” on Tristan Thompson. Fedor believes the Cavs are probably unlikely to move the big man unless they get a first-round pick — a package like the one they got for Jordan Clarkson probably wouldn’t be enough.

Knicks Have No Interest In Andre Drummond Trade

Despite a report last week linking them to trade candidate Andre Drummond, the Knicks have no interest in trading for the Pistons‘ center at this year’s deadline, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Detroit reportedly reached out to the Knicks about Drummond, and while one report suggested talks between the two teams were more than just exploratory, there’s no indication they gained real traction.

The Knicks’ stance on Drummond appears to be similar to the one Atlanta is taking — the Hawks reportedly ended their trade talks with the Pistons, recognizing that they’ll have the flexibility to pursue Drummond in free agency if they want to, rather than giving up assets for him now.

While Berman doesn’t confirm that the Knicks will go after Drummond in July, he writes that it would “make no sense” if they don’t.

One of New York’s most promising young players is center Mitchell Robinson, but Berman points to Robinson’s inconsistency, foul problems, and limited offensive game as reasons why the Knicks shouldn’t rule out the possibility of pursuing an impact veteran center like Drummond — they just likely won’t do so on the trade market in the coming weeks.

Hawks No Longer Pursuing Andre Drummond Trade

The Hawks traded for one veteran today but are no longer pursuing another, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who reports that Atlanta has ended its negotiations with the Pistons for center Andre Drummond.

While both sides were initially hopeful that they could work out a deal, Atlanta has decided to stay patient, recognizing that there will be chances to improve this summer in the draft and during the free agency period, sources tell Haynes.

According to Haynes, the Hawks and Pistons discussed a swap that would have sent a first-round pick, Damian Jones, and an expiring contract (either Chandler Parsons‘ or Allen Crabbe‘s) to Detroit in exchange for Drummond.

Crabbe was included in the deal the Hawks completed today with the Timberwolves for Jeff Teague, but Atlanta could’ve acquired Drummond without him, so it doesn’t appear that wasn’t a factor in the club’s decision to end trade talks with Detroit.

While the Hawks are no longer pursuing a trade for Drummond, that doesn’t mean their interest in him has disappeared. The Pistons’ big man will be one of Atlanta’s top targets in free agency if the team is still seeking a long-term answer at center at that point, sources tell Haynes. Thunder center Steven Adams, who has previously been linked to the Hawks, is still on the team’s radar and may be a target at the trade deadline or in free agency, Haynes adds.

According to Basketball Insiders’ data, the Hawks only have about $27MM in guaranteed money on their books for next season. That figure doesn’t include Jabari Parker‘s $6.5MM player option or cap holds for free agents, including potential RFAs DeAndre’ Bembry and Jones. But even after accounting for those costs, Atlanta will have more than enough cap space to aggressively pursue Drummond, Adams, or any other players they like.

The Pistons, meanwhile, continue to actively field inquiries on Drummond, according to Haynes. The Celtics, Mavericks, and Raptors were among the other teams said earlier this month to have interest in the NBA’s leading rebounder, though based on their assets and movable contracts, none of those clubs seemed to be as ideal a trade partner as Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Drummond, Lue, Cavs, Bulls, Rose

It appears likely that the Pistons will ultimately make a deal involving Andre Drummond before the trade deadline, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. However, teams aren’t offering first-round picks right now for the big man, per Edwards, who notes that initial talks between the Pistons and Hawks only involved expiring contracts.

While those offers seem likely to improve by February 6, it still remains unclear how much teams will be willing to give the Pistons for a player who could be had in free agency this summer. Edwards examines a few rumored suitors, arguing that the Hawks and Hornets make more sense than clubs like the Knicks, Celtics, and Cavaliers.

As Edwards explains, both Atlanta and Charlotte will have plenty of cap flexibility to sign Drummond this offseason, but haven’t historically been popular destinations for free agents. Giving up an asset for the Pistons’ center now and getting him familiar with the organization for a few months before free agency could give those clubs a leg up on a long-term deal in the summer, Edwards writes.

As we wait to see what happens with Drummond, here’s more from around the Central:

  • Now a top assistant for the Clippers, Tyronn Lue admits that he wishes he were still the Cavaliers‘ head coach, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said after a long pause. “What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together. Koby (Altman) being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.”
  • The Bulls‘ first half didn’t play out like the team had hoped, but head coach Jim Boylen insists there have been positive signs of progress over the last three months, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details. “I’m not discouraged. I’m kind of excited that we have established some things,” Boylen said. “Our shot profile is top-five in the league. Our defense on any given day is between five and nine, top-10 in the league. That’s what we’re building. And we’ll continue to work.”
  • Derrick Rose has been one of the Pistons‘ most valuable players this season and is helping the team stay competitive, but head coach Dwane Casey doesn’t want the veteran guard playing 30+ minutes per night, as he has recently. Chris McCosky of The Detroit News takes a look at Casey’s dilemma.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Rose, Jackson, Wood

Trading Andre Drummond may be more difficult than expected, writes Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The Pistons are hoping to get a young player or a draft pick in return for their star center. But because Drummond intends to opt out of his contract this summer, teams would be taking a chance by giving up future assets for what could be a short-term rental.

Although the Knicks are the latest team to be mentioned in a possible Drummond deal, a source tells Ellis, “there’s nothing there.” The Pistons reportedly reached out to New York, offering Drummond and another player in exchange for Julius Randle and Frank Ntilikina, whom they have tried to obtain before.

Ellis compares Drummond’s situation to Kemba Walker‘s last season, noting that teams weren’t willing to make significant offers to Charlotte at the deadline, even though Walker is a better player. Ellis suggests the Pistons may elect to unload Drummond for a package of expiring deals, if only to eliminate the risk that he will opt into a $28.7MM salary for next season when the team hopes to be under the salary cap.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • In an interview with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Derrick Rose talks about possibly taking part in the skills competition during All-Star Weekend and discusses how he has responded to an increase in his minutes limitation. “I feel healthy. And I’m just trying to play with grace out there,” Rose said. “Trying to take shots that they’re giving me, be smart with my opportunities. It’s been a year since I’ve been at the point guard spot. I came back in the league at small forward with Thibs (then-Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau). And then I went to shooting guard with Minnesota after that. This year, it’s the first year I’m back at point guard.”
  • The Pistons are optimistic that Reggie Jackson may return to the lineup soon, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson, who hasn’t played since the first two games of the season, received encouraging news when he met with a back specialist in Los Angeles last week.
  • Now that Christian Wood‘s $1.6MM contract is officially guaranteed, he has a chance to play a full season for one team for the first time since entering the league in 2015, Beard adds in the same story. “The transition for me has been good. It’s something I hadn’t really thought about,” Wood said. “I didn’t really kind of know the (guarantee) dates, but now it’s something I’m proud of. I’m happy and I think I deserve it.”

Pistons Apply For DPE; Knicks Interested In Drummond?

The Pistons have applied for a Disabled Player Exception due to Blake Griffin‘s potentially season-ending knee injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Detroit’s application is a clear indication it doesn’t expect Griffin, an All-Star last season and the team’s highest-paid player, to return. The $9.26MM exception, if granted, could help the injury-riddled Pistons make a trade to facilitate a rebuilding process.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Disabled Player Exception]

Griffin underwent surgery on the same knee after last season but he’s been bothered by knee soreness and a hamstring issue that kept him out of the lineup the first 10 games of the season. He only appeared in 18 games before getting the latest procedure.

The Pistons are just $3,669 below the tax line, $5.8MM below the hard cap, and have a full roster, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Thus, the exception won’t be used on a free agent signing, barring a trade to clear money and open a roster spot, Marks adds.

The Pistons had a January 15 deadline to apply for the disabled player exception. As we noted earlier this week, if the Pistons were to trade Derrick Rose or Langston Galloway and take back a player on an expiring contract whose salary fits into the DPE, they’d create a trade exception worth $7.3MM, which could be used in the summer or next season.

In an unrelated but intriguing development, the Knicks have talked to the Pistons about Andre Drummond, according to Charania (Twitter link). The Hawks, Mavericks, Raptors and Celtics have also been linked to Drummond, who can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Knicks are owed two future first-rounders from Dallas, which could facilitate a trade with Detroit. They also have a number of expiring contracts to match salaries.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Central Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

The Central Division may have one or two more sellers than initially anticipated this season. Detroit and Chicago had playoff aspirations in the fall, but are both solidly in the lottery at this point, with the 14-25 Pistons narrowly ahead of the 13-25 Bulls. Both teams are dealing with significant injuries to frontcourt players and may look to move a veteran or two before the trade deadline.

Here are three more trade candidates from the Central, including one from each of those two struggling clubs:

Andre Drummond, C
Detroit Pistons
$27.1MM cap hit; $28.8MM player option for 2020/21

Blake Griffin‘s knee injury, which may be season-ending, makes it all the more likely that the Pistons will throw in the towel on the 2019/20 season and seriously consider getting what they can for Drummond. Even if the return for the big man isn’t massive, it might be a better outcome than seeing him walk for nothing in the offseason or having to invest heavily in a pricey new long-term contract for him.

The Hawks were among the teams linked last week to Drummond and appear on the surface to be an ideal fit for him. They have a massive expiring contract (Chandler Parsons‘) that could be used for salary-matching purposes; they have an extra 2020 first-round pick to offer (the Nets’); and they’re motivated to get up-and-coming star Trae Young some more help.

The idea of a Young/Drummond pick-and-roll combination is legitimately intriguing, but the Hawks have some leverage here — they’ll have more than enough cap room in the summer of 2020 to make a play for Drummond as a free agent. Are his Bird rights important enough that they’d give up a first-round pick and/or another asset of value to land him now?

It would be in the Pistons’ best interests to engage a couple potential trade partners that don’t project to have 2020 cap room in order to put pressure on Atlanta and drive up the price on Drummond. The report linking teams like the Raptors, Celtics, and Mavericks to the big man may have been designed to do that. We’ll see in the coming weeks just how serious those clubs – or others – are about Drummond.

Thaddeus Young, PF
Chicago Bulls
$12.9MM cap hit; $13.5MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; $14.2MM non-guaranteed salary in 2021/22

It was nearly a month ago that reports surfaced suggesting Young was dissatisfied with his role in Chicago and had privately spoken to the Bulls his desire for increased playing time. At the time, Young was averaging just 21.6 minutes per game, his lowest mark since he was a rookie in 2007/08.

Since then, Young’s minutes have increased — but only to 23.3 MPG, and that average is buoyed by his 29.8 MPG in the club’s last three games, which can be attributed partly to Wendell Carter‘s recent ankle injury.

To be fair, it’s hard to blame the Bulls for dialing back Young’s role. His effectiveness has dropped off this season, as his .401 FG% is easily a career low. Still, the veteran forward is only 31 years old, so I don’t know that his struggles are simply the result of him being past his prime. He and the Bulls just haven’t been a good fit so far, and a change of scenery may be in both sides’ best interests.

Young’s contract, which includes a guaranteed $13.5MM cap hit for next season, will probably limit his appeal, but he has reportedly drawn some interest, including from the Clippers. If Chicago can extract even a second-round pick without taking back bad money, it might make sense to pull the trigger.

Myles Turner, C
Indiana Pacers
$18MM cap hit; $18MM guaranteed salaries every season through 2022/23

NBA experts and teams around the league view Turner as a trade candidate. For now though, most importantly, the Pacers don’t. Indiana has insisted for the last couple years that it’s happy moving forward with its duo of Turner and Domantas Sabonis, and a report from earlier today indicated the team continues to rebuff inquiries on Turner.

Turner remains an intriguing speculative trade candidate for a couple reasons. For one, it’s hard to imagine the Pacers as a legit title contender with those two centers playing alongside each other. The Raptors won a championship last spring with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, but those two vets rarely played together, and Ibaka had to accept a reduced role coming off the bench.

Secondly, Turner’s ability to make three-pointers on offense and block shots on defense makes him the sort of player that teams with frontcourt holes all over the league would love to acquire. He’s locked into a reasonable long-term contract and it’s fair to assume the Pacers could get a strong return if they make him available.

The Pacers’ ideal target in a Turner trade would probably be a versatile, two-way forward who could guard top scorers like Kevin Durant and LeBron James while complementing Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, and Malcolm Brogdon on offense. The problem? There just aren’t many players out there who fit that bill and would actually be available. As such, I’d expect the Pacers to stick to their guns on Turner and only eventually entertain the idea of a trade if they have another disappointing first-round exit this spring.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.