The Detroit Pistons had some success near the end of the season with the Reggie Jackson/Andre Drummond pick and roll. This summer they locked up half that duo, paying Jackson more money than anyone else was going to.
Now they will turn their attention to Drummond.
Drummond is eligible for a contract extension this summer (it has to be signed by Oct. 31), and he’s a clear max player, he should get in the five-year, $90 million range of Damian Lillard and others. The Pistons are going to start talking to him about it, GM and coach Stan Van Gundy told Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said the team will begin contract extension talks with center Andre Drummond in the next couple of weeks, with hopes of locking him up to a long-term contract — likely a maximum contract extension.
Here’s the rub: Van Gundy and the Pistons don’t want Drummond to sign that deal. At least not right now.
They want him to do what Kawhi Leonard did for the Spurs — wait a year, giving the Pistons more cap flexibility next summer. He’d still get the same max money, and the Pistons aren’t about to let him go, it’s simply about team building.
If Drummond signs this summer, he will count about $21 million against the cap in 2016-17. If he doesn’t sign then he becomes a restricted free agent and he’d count $8.1 million against the cap. That is a savings of nearly $13 million and the Pistons could use that to upgrade the talent around Drummond.
Here is the potential downside for Drummond. He will be a max player if he stays healthy. If he injures himself, the Pistons are under no obligation to give him a max deal. He could lose millions.
As we have seen this summer, NBA players like security. With good reason. This is Drummond’s chance to go from wealthy to “my family is set up for generations” money and why would you risk not locking that in right now?
Only because the other things you want in your NBA career — the chance to win and compete for rings — is more likely if he waits a year.
It’s not an easy choice. Drummond is a franchise cornerstone player, and if he wants a max deal right now he will get it. The Pistons will pay that man his money. They’d just like him to wait a little before signing on the dotted line.