Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
No Pistons-Knicks deal for Andre Drummond is considered imminent, but New York's recent conversations with Detroit about Drummond were more than just exploratory talks, according to SNY sources familiar with the matter.
Trade discussions are always fluid. Plenty can - and will - change between now and the trade deadline, but the Knicks' interest in Andre Drummond is certainly noteworthy.
SNY reported earlier this week that teams in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that they have shown interest in starter-level players who can help the team in the short-term and future seasons. Those teams said the Knicks weren't solely focused on acquiring future assets in trades.
Drummond would certainly qualify as a player of that caliber.
He's averaging 17.8 points and a league-best 16.2 rebounds per game for Detroit.
Per an ESPN report, Detroit is preparing for Drummond, 26, to decline his $29 million option on the 2020-21 season and become a free agent.
It's hard to see the Knicks giving up what it would take to get Drummond - a New York native - without planning to keep him for more than one season. But if that were the case, the Knicks could potentially free up cap space in 2020 by including Julius Randle or Dennis Smith Jr. in the deal.
How a Drummond acquisition would impact second-year center Mitchell Robinson is unclear.
Robinson is certainly coveted by many teams around the league and would bring immense value to any Knicks trade. It doesn't seem as if Drummond and Robinson would fit on the same roster. So if the Knicks acquired Drummond with the idea of re-signing him, it obviously would have a significant impact on Robinson's future in New York.
ESPN reported that the Pistons are seeking expiring contracts in any Drummond trade and have had serious talks with the Hawks about a Drummond deal. The Knicks signed several free agents with contracts that aren't fully guaranteed for next season, so they have players who can be seen as expiring contracts by the Pistons.
Something worth noting on the Hawks and Pistons: several teams in touch with the Hawks recently came away with the impression that the club prioritizes trading for Oklahoma City's Steven Adams over Drummond. As Yahoo noted, Drummond has a strong relationship with Hawks star Trae Young.
It will be interesting to see how Atlanta proceeds ahead of the trade deadline.
Other Knicks who have drawn interest from teams ahead of the deadline include Marcus Morris, Dennis Smith Jr. and Bobby Portis.
The Knicks surely have had conversations about several other players as well. The Timberwolves are among the teams who have expressed interest in Smith Jr., while some in the Pistons organization are big fans of his, as well. The New York Post reported that the Sixers are monitoring Morris' market. Opposing teams expect both teams in Los Angeles to also keep an eye on Morris.
Another factor in any Morris deal? Some members of the Knicks organization believe Morris has long-term value with the club, SNY sources say. They have been impressed by his play and his leadership during the season and see him as a valuable player on the team they're hoping to rebuild.
If Randle or Smith Jr. is moved in a Drummond trade, that obviously gives the Knicks more money to use on re-signing Morris and other free agents.
The Knicks' approach at the deadline may be complicated, somewhat, by uncertainty around the future of the front office. After a conversation with owner James Dolan amid a 2-8 start, management came away with the impression that their jobs would be safe if the team showed improvement.
Head coach David Fizdale was fired after a 4-18 start to the season. The Knicks have gone 6-10 under interim head coach Mike Miller.
Stadium first reported that the Knicks had reached out to Detroit about Andre Drummond.