Andre Drummond

Pistons Notes: Luxury Tax, Point Guard, Drummond

With approximately $95MM in guaranteed salaries on their books for 2017/18, the Pistons will be in danger of going into luxury tax territory if they re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a maximum salary contract or something close to it.

However, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press tweets that a source in the know told him the Pistons would be okay with being slightly over the tax line. As Ellis notes in a piece for The Free Press, even if Detroit begins the ’17/18 season in the tax, that doesn’t necessarily mean the team will be on the hook for tax penalties at the end of the year. Luxury tax penalties aren’t determined until the final day of the regular season, so the Pistons could make trades to sneak back under the threshold, if necessary.

Here’s more out of Detroit:

  • Given their current cap situation, the free agent market won’t offer an easy path to roster upgrades for the Pistons, Ellis writes for The Free Press. Ellis expects Detroit to attempt to find a point guard to play behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, but that would likely be a minor move. Within the piece, Ellis also suggests that Caldwell-Pope’s restricted free agency may not get resolved quickly if he doesn’t find an offer sheet he likes.
  • Andre Drummond‘s name surfaced in trade rumors again last week, and while Drummond has been “hurt” in the past at being mentioned in trade rumors, he’s most accustomed to it now, per head coach Stan Van Gundy (link via The Detroit Free Press).
  • The Kings, who have had interest in Drummond in the past, were linked to the veteran center again last week, but Ellis writes that Detroit wasn’t motivated to make a move. “It’s part of the usual draft-day dance,” a Pistons source told Ellis shortly before the draft. “Sacramento making a play for him and would like to make it happen. Us not so much.”
  • Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press wonders if the Pistons will end up regretting making the “safe” play and picking Luke Kennard on draft day.

Trade Rumors: Nuggets, Butler, Dudley, Drummond

The Nuggets, who spoke to the Bulls at the February trade deadline about Jimmy Butler, have engaged with Chicago again as the draft approaches, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN. According to Goodman, any offer Denver makes obviously wouldn’t include Nikola Jokic, but would feature multiple young players and draft picks.

Butler, of course, has reportedly indicated that he wants to remain with the Bulls. And while a fondness for Chicago and his Bulls teammates may play a part in that stance, he’s also aware that he’ll no longer be eligible for a potential Designated Veteran Extension if he’s traded. Butler would be eligible for that super-max extension if he earns an All-NBA nod next year, but only if he remains on the Bulls, which is the “real reason” he doesn’t want to be moved, tweets Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA as the draft inches closer:

  • The Suns have talked to the Pelicans about a potential Jared Dudley trade, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), who adds that any deal would likely involve second-round picks. New Orleans may not have the cap room to absorb Dudley’s $10MM salary outright, so the Pelicans may have to send out a contract or two in a possible swap.
  • Although there have been whispers about Sacramento’s interest in Andre Drummond, a deal between the Kings and Pistons remains unlikely at this point, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press adds (via Twitter) that he has been told multiple times that any Drummond trade is unlikely, though that could change.
  • Amick passes along another note on the Kings, tweeting that while Sacramento plans to use pick at No. 5, there’s a chance the team will move the No. 10 selection in order to land a player and a later pick.
  • A source tells Jason Quick of CSNNW.com (Twitter link) that there’s “no way” the Trail Blazers acquire LaMarcus Aldridge from the Spurs.

Pistons Gauging Trade Market For Drummond, Jackson

The Pistons are gauging the trade market for Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As Scotto notes, Detroit initially attempted to determine Drummond’s and Jackson’s trade value around the deadline back in February.

Both Drummond and Jackson are coming off underwhelming seasons. Drummond, who inked a five-year, maximum-salary contract last summer, saw his scoring average slip from a career-high 16.2 PPG in 2015/16 to just 13.6 PPG this past season, while Jackson also failed to build on a career year, with his numbers slipping across the board — he was nagged by injuries throughout the year and was benched down the stretch.

Although Drummond and Jackson didn’t produce the way Detroit had hoped in 2016/17, they’re still the most talented players on the Pistons’ roster, making them intriguing potential trade chips. Stan Van Gundy has said he’s not looking to blow up his roster, but also expressed displeasure with the club’s showing in ’16/17, suggesting that changes could be on the way.

Even if the Pistons look to shake things up a little, a trade of either player – particularly Drummond – would qualify as a surprise. When our Dana Gauruder previewed the Pistons’ offseason earlier this week, he observed that it would be difficult for the team to get fair value in deals involving Jackson or Drummond, meaning it might make more sense to bet on them to bounce back rather than trading them.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, Combine, Johnson, Dumars

Pistons center Andre Drummond may start wearing a facemask to protect his nose, according to Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Drummond recently underwent surgery to fix a deviated septum, which has limited his breathing for several years. Coach Stan Van Gundy said the procedure could make Drummond more vulnerable to having his nose broken, which is why the mask is being considered. “The only thing is there’s a little bit of a chance that it makes you more susceptible to breaks, which he knew going in, which means he may have to wear a mask, at times,” Van Gundy said. “Or if it gets hit. So we’ll see.” He added that Drummond is ” feeling a thousand times better” since the procedure.

There’s more news out of Detroit:

  • The Pistons asked the prospects they interviewed at this week’s draft combine to break down film clips, Ellis adds in the same story. Gonzaga big man Zach Collins said Detroit was one of the few teams he talked to that asked for film analysis, but Van Gundy is a believer in the technique. “There is no right or wrong answer; I just like to hear them talk about basketball and articulate what they see on the court,” Van Gundy said. “Most of them will go back to their rules in college about defensive rotations. I’m not worried about what it is [they know], but more if guys have a pretty clear understanding of what they think should be done.”
  • Second-year swingman Stanley Johnson expressed a willingness to play in the Orlando Pro Summer League, but the Pistons seem to have decided against it, Ellis relays in another story. Van Gundy says the decision was made in last month’s exit meeting. “I think what we might do with him is – and he talked it about when he left – go down [to Orlando] and practice with us,” Van Gundy said.[Reggie] Bullock did it with us last year. Go down and practice, but not anything else.” He added that rookies Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije will definitely be part of the summer league team.
  • Pistons legend and former executive Joe Dumars is honored to be a candidate to run the Hawks, Vincent adds in a separate piece. Appearing this week on ESPN’s “The Jump,” Dumars addressed rumors that he is being considered for the top job in Atlanta. “There’s only 30 of these jobs in the world,” he said. “If I’m fortunate enough to be with the Hawks or anyone else, I look at it as a great opportunity because these are tough jobs.” Grant Hill, Dumars’ former teammate in Detroit, is a minority owner of the Hawks.

Central Notes: Pritchard, Drummond, Korver, Lue

New Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard promises to bring an aggressive approach to the job, according to Michael Marot of the Associated Press. Pritchard, who took over when Larry Bird officially resigned this week, can now implement the ideas that he used to advocate to his former boss. “I think you have to be bold in this position,” Pritchard said. “I like interchanging pieces, I like moving around in the draft, I want to be aggressive, I want to make deals.” Pritchard will have to deal with the impending free agency of Jeff Teague and possibly C.J. Miles and Lavoy Allen as well. Of course, his biggest decision will be whether to trade All-Star forward Paul George, who can opt out next summer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons center Andre Drummond recently had surgery to fix a deviated septum that caused breathing problems for the past four years, relays Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. “[I’ve] been playing with my right nostril for four years because I ended up [injuring my nose] some more after my second season,” Drummond said. “I never really had a chance to really sit down and do a surgery. Last year, we made the playoffs and the year before that, I went to the Olympics. It was really tough for me to be out for six weeks and not be able to do anything.” The Pistons signed Drummond to a max deal last summer, but have reportedly been gauging his trade value because of concerns over his work ethic.
  • Kyle Korver is delivering in the playoffs the way the Cavaliers hoped when they traded for him in January, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. He scored 14 points in the Game 3 win at Toronto, with most coming as Cleveland pulled away in the second half. “When [Korver] steps on the floor, eyes have to be on him,” said LeBron James. “… Just his ability to be out on the floor just helps us all out offensively because it just creates more space. From the time we got him all the way to now, and as we continue to play throughout the postseason, he’s been huge for our ballclub.”
  • Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com examines the delicate balancing act that Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue must perform as the coach of one of the NBA’s most talented teams.

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.”

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