Andre Drummond

Pistons Committed To Keeping Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons plan to match any offer that restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope receives, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

The organization is prepared to give the fourth-year shooting guard a maximum deal if that’s what it takes to keep him in Detroit, Ellis adds, with several sources saying he is an important part of the team’s future.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season, but his numbers declined after the All-Star break. Ellis states that the Pistons may have viewed the situation differently if they were confident that Stanley Johnson was ready to become a starter, but they believe keeping Caldwell-Pope is vital and they wouldn’t be able to get an adequate replacement because of their cap situation.

Ellis touches on several other Pistons-related matters:

  • Trade talks involving Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will continue this offseason. Ellis states that the organization is becoming impatient with Drummond, with coach/executive Stan Van Gundy saying in Friday’s press conference that he needs a “sense of urgency to elevate his game.” Jackson’s drop in production stemmed from left knee tendinitis that plagued him throughout the season, and Ellis claims the only available replacement who might be an upgrade is the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.
  • The Pistons believe they have enough young players and future first-rounders to acquire a star this offseason. There were rumors that Drummond was offered to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins before he was sent to New Orleans, and a source told Ellis the Pistons contacted the Pacers about Paul George but never got close to a deal. George has another season left before he can opt out, and Detroit might be interested in taking the chance that it can re-sign him, but only if the price in a trade comes down. Other targets could include Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Although the Pistons might benefit from a franchise-altering move, Van Gundy said smaller deals are more realistic. “There’s a couple things we’d like to do and make us a little bit better, but I don’t think we’re broken” he said. “Getting our point guard situation back to where it was or even better is more than feasible and corrects a great deal of the problems we’re talking about. Our roster is pretty good from there.”

Pistons Notes: KCP, Baynes, Drummond

The Pistons would like to bring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back next season, but GM Jeff Bower sounds as if the organization will wait for another team to make an offer before making any commitments, Rod Beard of The Detroit News passes along.

“With the timing of things, you never know for sure until the period begins. There is a danger because we don’t have it with any certainty,” Bower said. “Hopefully, we’re able to move along with the things we have and everything is aligned. That’s a hand we have to be ready to play, no matter what direction we go. We have a lot of control in the situation, which is something we value and expect to be able to take advantage of.

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • Aron Baynes hasn’t yet made a decision on his player option for the 2017/18 campaign, which is worth $6.5MM. He’ll take his time on the decision, but staying with the Pistons remains a strong possibility, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays (Twitter links). “Being here, it kind of feels like we have some unfinished business,” Baynes said.
  • Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy must figure out if the Andre DrummondReggie Jackson pairing is the best option for the Pistons long-term, John Niyo of The Detroit News argues.Drummond has four years remaining on the max contract he signed last offseason, while Jackson has three years remaining on the five-year, $80MM deal he signed back in 2015.
  • Van Gundy feels Drummond needs to take additional steps to reach his potential, Niyo passes along in the same piece. “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game,” Van Gundy said. “He’s been in the league five years now. He’s still young, he hasn’t turned 24. The sky’s the limit for him. But he needs to do some work to get there.”

Van Gundy: Andre Drummond Needs To Improve

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy will hold a meeting Monday with Andre Drummond to discuss the center’s future with the organization, tweets Rod Beard of the Detroit News. At a press conference today, Van Gundy expressed confidence that the 23-year-old can still be a leader in Detroit, but added that he needs to commit himself to getting better. “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game,” Van Gundy said (Twitter link). “He has the potential to be good or great, but he needs to do some work to get there.” (Twitter link).

Drummond is coming off a season in which he played 81 games, averaging 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per night. While those numbers are solid, the Pistons were hoping for more after giving him a five-year extension last summer with a potential value of more than $125MM. Detroit’s front office reportedly began to sour on Drummond as losses piled up this season and was listening to trade offers before February’s deadline. Van Gundy stated that motivation remains a concern with Drummond, adding, “It’s an issue we need to address — and probably in a different way.” (Twitter link).

There’s more from today’s meeting with reporters:

  • Van Gundy is hopeful that point guard Reggie Jackson can bounce back from an injury-filled season. “Our medical people are confident he’s back now physically,” the coach said. “What he didn’t get back to was confidence.” (Twitter link). Jackson battled tendinitis problems in his knee all the way back to training camp and was shut down in early April even though the Pistons were still in the playoff race. Van Gundy said Jackson looked good in a recent practice and should be back to normal by the start of next season (Twitter link).
  • Van Gundy says Stanley Johnson needs “a better offseason” than he had last year to secure a spot in the rotation (Twitter link). Johnson is an elite defender, but needs to improve his offensive game by making more shots and committing fewer turnovers (Twitter link).
  • Van Gundy added that the team doesn’t need “a bombshell move” to get back to the playoffs (Twitter link).
  • GM Jeff Bower, who also spoke to reporters, believes the Pistons are in a good position to help themselves through the draft. Detroit holds the 12th pick heading into next month’s lottery, and Bower says the top half of the first round is especially strong (Twitter link).

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Drummond, Van Gundy

The wheels are falling off for the 34-39 Pistons, who are 1.5 games out of the eighth seed following a 115-87 loss to the Magic. Reggie Jackson– who has been coming off the bench of late- said nobody’s job is safe.

“(Missing the playoffs) would suck — it sucks every year you’re not in the postseason and not one of the teams competing to be the last one standing,” Jackson told Rod Beard of Detroit News. “It’s tough. It’s a performance-based league so all our jobs are on the line. If we don’t get where we want to be, I’m sure coach knows as coach-president, he has a lot on the line. Myself, I was brought in to be the point guard and I have a lot on the line. We don’t know who’s going to be back next year or who’s going to be here tomorrow.”

Stan Van Gundy‘s Pistons have dropped six of their last seven, entering crisis mode in the middle of a playoff chase. If there’s one saving grace for Detroit, three of their next four opponents are fellow sub-.500 teams.

More from Detroit…

  • Van Gundy answered six postgame questions in a combined 55 seconds after Friday’s loss, Rod Beard of Detroit News reports. Video of the uncomfortable presser can be found on FOX Sports Detroit (Twitter link).
  • The Pistons are in “no-man’s land,” Brett Koremenos of RealGM writes. While Koremenos concedes basketball is too nuanced to blame problems on a singular figure, he has trouble getting past the faults of Jackson and Andre Drummond. Regarding Drummond- previously regarded as a ‘franchise player’- Koremenos writes “Drummond’s engagement defensively comes and goes almost on a nightly basis. He can be prone to lazily reach for steals in pick-and-roll defensively and could definitely get a lot from a class in the Marc Gasol school of defensive positioning and anticipation. And for all the talk of his athleticism, Drummond doesn’t deter opponents’ success near the rim.”
  • It doesn’t sound like Van Gundy’s decision to bring Jackson off the bench will be a permanent one, as the veteran coach called it a “decision for now…not a long-term thing,” when speaking to Rod Beard of Detroit News (Twitter link). Jackson likely doesn’t have to worry about Ish Smith taking his job, as Smith totaled just six points with three rebounds over 16 minutes in Friday’s loss. In Beard’s article linked above, Van Gundy noted “He’s [Jackson] handled everything this year like a true pro. It’s been a very difficult year for him in a lot of ways: the injury, trying to come back and not playing the way that he’s wanted to play, and now coming off the bench. He’s handled it all great and his priority is the team.”

Ish Smith May Replace Reggie Jackson In Starting Lineup

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is contemplating starting Ish Smith over Reggie Jackson, according to a report from Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Van Gundy has showed concern of his starting unit’s lack of energy and production, Beard reports, and has not been pleased with Jackson and Andre Drummond‘s defensive efforts.

“Those are the two guys [Jackson and Drummond]. The energy has got to go up,” Van Gundy said. “Andre picked up his energy the other night but that’s got to be on a consistent basis, and we need more energy out of Reggie.”

It’s been a slog for Jackson of late, averaging nine points on 32.6% shooting over his last four games. The 26-year-old still has plenty of upside, but has regressed in PPG, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage from 2015/16. Jackson was mentioned in rumors throughout the trade deadline, but stayed put due to Detroit’s high asking price, as well as his lengthy contract (Jackson is in the second season of a five-year, $80MM deal).

The Pistons enter a vital stretch of their season with just a one game lead over the eighth seed. Though Smith’s recent play has hardly been stellar- shooting 33.3% over his last five games- Van Gundy may give him the starting role in Saturday’s match-up with Philadelphia.

“We’ve got to get better energy off the start of the games,” Van Gundy said. “The last Philadelphia game was one of our better starts in each half. That’s got to get going — that’s not just him (Jackson). Anything’s possible right now, but we’ve got to get playing better and we’ve got to get our first unit playing more consistently and playing better.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Parker, Rondo

Rumors swirled around Pistons players as the NBA’s trade deadline approached but as Thursday came and went, the Detroit roster went unchanged. Stan Van Gundy spoke with Aaron McMann of MLive about the club’s lack of activity.

Look, we’re not real happy with how we’ve played up to this point overall, but we still do have a young group,” Van Gundy said of the now 28-31 Pistons.. “And as much as you would like the progress to be steadily up hill, it’s not always. That doesn’t mean that you lose faith in your guys.”

The Pistons have struggled since starting guard Reggie Jackson returned to the lineup in early December, previously he had been recovering from a knee procedure and Ish Smith had stepped in to man the point. Over the course of the past month, Jackson’s name has been linked to the Timberwolves in a possible two- or three- team trade, potentially involving the Knicks.

You don’t want to get that deal fever where you just want to make a deal so badly that you end up making a bad one,” he said. Considering that Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, two names that came up as possible trade candidates at the deadline, are just 23 and 24 years old respectively, patience may still pay off.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though 2014 second-overall pick Jabari Parker will miss the remainder of this season and part of next season recovering from a torn ACL, his second drastic injury in the past three seasons, the Bucks didn’t consider dealing him at the deadline, tweets Stephen Watson of WISN 12 News. “Absolutely not,” general manager John Hammond told Watson, when asked explicitly.
  • It’s not clear whether the Bulls will embrace a rebuild or continue to push to win now and the continued presence of Rajon Rondo in the lineup embodies the organization’s indirection, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.
  • After a pair of 10-day contracts with the Hornets, former Pistons guard Ray McCallum – one of the last cut by the Pistons during training camp – is back in the D-League with Detroit’s affiliate in Grand Rapids. The point guard is averaging 17.8 points and 7.5 assists per game with the Drive so far this season.

Latest On The Pistons, Drummond, Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons are “welcoming offers” for Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Mark Stein of ESPN.com. It’s likely that Drummond stays with the franchise, as he’s beloved by owner Tom Gores, but the softened stance on the big man opens up the door on a potential trade.

The Blazers had discussions with the Pistons about bringing Drummond to Portland, but those talks ended when Detriot insisted on receiving C.J. McCollum in return, sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Stein notes that the Blazers view McCollum as untouchable.

Stein adds that the Raptors and Pistons have had exploratory conversations on Drummond. Detroit has also engaged in conversations with the Nets. Before DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the Pelicans, the Pistons discussed a deal with the Kings centered around a Cousins-Drummond swap.

Drummond signed a max contract with the team over the summer. Caldwell-Pope will be a restricted after the season and the team is reportedly wary about having to give the shooting guard a sizable deal. Stein notes that the team is looking for at least one first-rounder in exchange for KCP.

If the Pistons hold onto Caldwell-Pope and re-sign him to a max deal in the offseason, they would be near the luxury tax line. That’s not an attractive position to be in for a team that sits below .500. However, coach/executive Stan Van Gundy tells Vince Ellis of the Detriot Free Press that ownership has not issued any mandate to shed salary this season.

Celtics Notes: Drummond, George, Bradley

The Celtics would be a potential landing spot for Andre Drummond if the Pistons are open to moving their young center, a source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England. Blakely wonders if Boston, having shown little interest in DeMarcus Cousins before he was dealt, could instead be eyeing a big man like Drummond.

While we’ve known for some time that the Pistons are open to dealing anybody on the roster at the right price, Drummond’s recent behavior on Twitter, Blakely argues, could indicate that something is brewing. Earlier today, Drummond retweeted an eyeball emoji tweet that Isaiah Thomas sent out. Worth noting, Blakely writes, is that the point guard did exactly such a thing shortly before the Celtics added Al Horford in the summer. Later, Drummond posted his own eyeball emoji tweet and removed all references to the Pistons from his Twitter biography.

Tempering expectations on the Drummond speculation is Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who says that multiple people with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons claim it’s very likely the 23-year-old stays in Detroit through the deadline.

There are a few more Celtics rumors bouncing around today:

  • The Celtics may be unlikely to move one of their Nets picks for Jimmy Butler but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t include it in a deal for Pacers swingman Paul George. A CSN New England report filed Tuesday cites an article published by Frank Isola at the New York Daily News. “Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny Ainge and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper,” said Isola’s source, an anonymous executive.
  • One player that could make an interesting pieces at the trade deadline is Avery Bradley, says a recent CSN New England report. In a podcast, Zach Lowe of ESPN mentioned that Bradley will see his contract expire next season at the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract comes due and for that reason might be moved ahead of time.
  • A report out of Toronto links the Celtics to both Jimmy Butler and Paul George but adds that the Celtics will likely hold onto their potential top pick. Ryan Wolstat of the National Post thinks Boston can offer an enticing package for Butler without including the pick.

Pistons Listening To Inquiries On Andre Drummond?

More and more teams that have spoken to the Pistons recently are saying that they believe Detroit won’t discourage inquiries on Andre Drummond this week, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). While Stein’s report doesn’t suggest the Pistons are shopping their standout center, it sounds like Drummond isn’t necessarily untouchable.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported last week that the Pistons had “quietly explored” the trade market for Drummond, but came away underwhelmed by what teams might be willing to offer. At that point, Lowe classified a Drummond trade as an “extreme long shot.”

It’s not clear if Detroit’s stance has changed at all since then or if the team is simply doing due diligence. Stan Van Gundy has suggested that no one is necessarily off-limits if the Pistons have an opportunity to improve their long-term outlook, and it’s possible the offers for Drummond have gotten a little stronger with the deadline approaching, but it would still be a surprise to see the recently re-signed 23-year-old on the move this week.

For what it’s worth, a report earlier today suggested that the Raptors made a pitch for Drummond centered around Jonas Valanciunas before they acquired Serge Ibaka from Orlando.

Eastern Rumors: Butler, Raptors, Magic, Celtics

Although he acknowledges that posturing goes on at this time of year, and that one blockbuster offer could change everything, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter links) says the Bulls are telling teams that Jimmy Butler isn’t available. While Chicago is open to listening to calls on Butler, the club is rebuffing all offers and isn’t actively shopping its star forward, says Johnson. The report is in line with what we heard on Monday from Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who said that Butler’s camp has a growing belief that the Bulls’ All-Star won’t be moved.

Here are a few more items of interest from around the Eastern Conference, with the NBA’s trade deadline just two days away:

  • Jake Fischer of SI.com passes along a number of notable updates in his league-wide look at the trade landscape. Among Fischer’s notes? Before they acquired Serge Ibaka, the Raptors made a play for Pistons center Andre Drummond with a package centered around Jonas Valanciunas. Additionally, Fischer reports that the Sixers have no interest in moving T.J. McConnell.
  • It doesn’t appear that the Magic and Pistons have any traction on a Reggie Jackson swap at this point, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Kyler notes that things could change by Thursday, but the latest round of Jackson rumors had the Pistons in talks with the Timberwolves and Knicks. While they’re not on the verge of anything with Jackson, the Magic are on the lookout for a point guard upgrade, Kyler tweets, adding that Suns guard Brandon Knight is on Orlando’s radar to a lesser extent.
  • The Celtics have identified a “small group of role players” that would interest them, including P.J. Tucker, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. However, the club has no plans to give up a first-round pick for a modest piece like Tucker, a source tells Himmelsbach. The Globe reporter adds that Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor isn’t presently on Boston’s radar, though ESPN’s Marc Stein said in a recent radio appearance that the C’s hadn’t entirely closed the door on that possibility.
  • Beat reporters in Boston haven’t suggested that the Celtics are close to any deal, but Isaiah Thomas put fans on high alert with a tweet on Monday night. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com notes, the last time Thomas sent the eyes-wide-open emoji in a tweet, it happened right before the C’s agreed to sign Al Horford.
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