The Pistons have dealt franchise center Andre Drummond to Cleveland. Detroit will receive Brandon Knight, John Henson and a second-round pick in return for the franchise's all-time leader in rebounds and field-goal percentage.
Cleveland, which is just 13-39 this season, was expected to be aggressive at the deadline and signs pointed to the Cavs moving either star forward Kevin Love or center Tristan Thompson, who is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent this summer.
Drummond has been with Detroit since the team drafted him No. 9 overall in 2012. Still just 26 years old, the eight-year veteran was Detroit's only All-Star from 2010-18 and made the All-NBA third team in 2015-16. Blake Griffin broke Drummond's All-Star streak last season, but has played just 18 games this year due to a knee injury.
Despite his individual production, Drummond experienced little team success in Detroit, appearing in the postseason just twice. On both of those occasions, the Pistons were swept in the first round.
* * *
From NBA.com's Michael C. Wright
Main Takeaway: Detroit more or less let it be known it’s building for the future by trading Drummond to Cleveland. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, now appear to have a suitable alternative for the possible departure of Thompson, whose contract is set to expire.
Impact on Cavs: Since Drummond has said he plans to decline his option for next season, it’s worth wondering whether this is merely a three-month lease, considering what the Cavaliers reportedly gave up to acquire him. Knight and Henson are on expiring contracts, and we all know deals like that carry value for teams looking to shed salary.
So, in essence, Cleveland gets a chance to see what Drummond can do with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. It’s worth pondering what happens next with Thompson. The Cavs will also have Bird rights for a sign-and-trade if Drummond declines his option. Multiple teams leading up to the trade deadline have reportedly discussed a trade with the Cavaliers for Thompson, whose $18.5 million contract is expiring. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and he’s reportedly not interested in accepting a buyout.
Impact on Pistons: Looks like a salary dump here. The league’s leading rebounder (15.8 rpg), Drummond has a $28 million option for next season that he’s said he planned to decline. So, if Detroit didn’t trade Drummond and he declined the option, he would’ve become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, which means the Pistons would have let him walk for nothing. Still, one has to believe his value was higher.
Drummond is averaging a career-high 17.8 points, and has won three rebounding titles in addition to making two All-Star appearances. But for many, he is an old-school throwback type of player that no longer fits with what teams want to do these days. Teams want 3-point shooting at every position, and Drummond’s game is limited to inside the paint on the offense. Defensively, Drummond definitely does his fair share to generate steals and log blocks, but he’s not considered one of the league’s elite rim protectors.
If there’s one thing I learned about the NBA, there’s no friends or loyalty. I’ve given my heart and soul to the Pistons , and to be have this happen with no heads up makes me realize even more that this is just a business! I love you Detroit...— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummond) February 6, 2020
Cont... you will always have a special place in my heart! But on to the next @cavs hope your ready! Let’s finish the year off the right way 🦋— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummond) February 6, 2020