By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons may be talking about a potential Andre Drummond trade, but the Celtics are among those also interested in the Detroit big man, according to senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill.
Now, based on the early reporting, it would seem as if the Hawks are the frontrunner in any potential deal for the 26-year-old center. It’s also not the first time that Drummond has found himself in trade rumors, and it’s really not hard to imagine this indeed being the end of Drummond’s time in Detroit. I mean, the Pistons are currently sitting at 12-23 (they’re now three and a half games out of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference) and with Drummond holds an opt-out in his contract at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. If there was ever a time to actually follow through on what would be the start of an obvious tear-down of a reset that comes with moving Drummond, it would be now.
Especially if there’s a potential bidding war (as this reporting would indicate) at play for Detroit.
An absolute frontcourt monster, Drummond hits the trade block averaging 17.6 points and 15.8 rebounds through 33 games this season, and is coming off a 2018-19 that included a career-best 1,370 total points. The 6-foot-10 big also has two All-Star appearances to his name, and is a three-time NBA rebounding leader.
And the Celtics, of course, have been on what’s felt like a multi-year quest for a high-rebounding big to truly elevate them to championship status. (The Celtics have ranked 22nd in rebounding last year and were 27th in 2016-17, but have actually been the league’s 12th-best rebounding squad out of the gate this season.) It also seems like a must if the Celtics are going to get through an Eastern Conference playoff structure that includes threats like the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (he’s devoured the Green this season).
So, in theory, their reported interest in Drummond adds up.
But swinging a deal for Drummond is a bit of a different story.
With Drummond under contract at a whopping $27 million, bringing him to Boston would have to include Gordon Hayward and his $32.7 million contract. That’s unless the Celtics were going to do some trickery involving say a mid-tier contract Marcus Smart and then a boatload of bench pieces and young prospects going Detroit’s way. Ravaging the bench for a big who doesn’t shoot three’s in 2020 seems like an odd move, and not something that would be in line with what Celtics coach Brad Stevens is trying to build as the league continues its shift towards position-less ball.
It’s also hard to imagine the Celtics either Hayward or Smart in a deal for Drummond (especially with his aforementioned ability to bounce by way of an opt-out next summer) given their obvious value to this year’s team.
The Celtics have also gotten considerably strong contributions from a center spot headlined by Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis of late, and while that may not be the team’s ultimate solution at the five, it should be enough for them to realize they don’t need to blow up the core of what they do for a player like Drummond.
But their rumored interest, regardless of it being mild or white-hot, certainly seems to an early tell into what they’re going to (once again) find themselves looking for this trade deadline season.