But dealing franchise player Andre Drummond? Apparently the Pistons have looked into that, too.
Detroit has quietly explored the trade market for each of its franchise centerpieces, according to sources across the league, and come away disappointed with the potential return. (Van Gundy himself has said anyone is available for “the right price.”)
Any Drummond deal at the deadline is an extreme long shot, but Jackson remains in play for Minnesota, Orlando, New Orleans, or some mystery destination.
They have their tense moments. Both are close with Tom Gores, the Pistons’ owner, and each freely admits they talk with Gores about the other in terms that might not always be the most flattering.
“Whatever we talk about with the owner is between us,” Drummond said. “But Stan and I leave nothing unspoken.”
“I think we like each other personally,” Van Gundy said. “Like most young bigs, he needs to be pushed really hard. Sometimes, he’s more willing to hear hard coaching than others.”
As Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy has explained, Detroit has held trade discussions about every player on its team and most of those discussions revolve around top players, because that’s whom other teams call about. Do these Drummond discussions rise above standard-fare talks?
Maybe, maybe not. That Lowe is reporting them indicates yes, but that’s hardly definitive proof. It’s also unclear whether the Pistons are seeking a reasonable return or just seeing whether they can draw an unexpectedly strong offer.
Drummond, just 23, is already one of the NBA’s best big men. His combination of size and athleticism is rare, and he puts it to great use as a rebounder, pick-and-roll finisher, and, sometimes, defender. But his effort wanes too often, and there’s a decent gap between his defensive production and defensive potential.
Nobody feels that like Van Gundy, who coaches Drummond daily. With front-office power, Van Gundy could seek a fix via trade.
Gores just gave Van Gundy a vote of confidence, and the owner is fond of Drummond, who’s locked up three more years. Most likely, the coach and player will continue trying to progress. With Drummond’s youth and Van Gundy’s coaching acumen, this could still all work — even as a little impatience shows now.