Detroit Pistons centre Andre Drummond has already made it clear he intends to decline his player option and become a free agent at the end of the 2019/20 NBA season, as reported by Marlowe Alter of the Detroit Free Press.
Drummond, when speaking to a reporter, said he ‘will be a free agent next summer.’ For that to happen, he would have to turn down his $28.8 million player option for the 2020/21 campaign. While injury or a poor year could see Drummond change his mind, this is the earliest indication that he intends to test the market next summer.
With Draymond Green signing a contract extension to stay with the Golden State Warriors and Anthony Davis likely to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, Drummond could yet be the best player available.
If he is to turn down that option, Drummond will likely be looking at a contract around the $100 million mark. While that would be less money per year, it would give him a guarantee way beyond what he is set to receive from the Pistons. Not many teams are lined up to have significant cap room next offseason, however.
Hunting for a star, the Miami Heat are one team that might be mentioned around Drummond. Bam Adebayo’s presence makes that improbable, though. The Toronto Raptors, looking to build around Pascal Siakam, are set to have plenty of room – assuming Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol all depart – and could see Drummond as a good fit.
While he isn’t exactly a stretch five, Drummond is still a valuable player in the modern NBA. He’s arguably the best rebounder in the league and is a force in the paint at both ends of the floor. The extra possessions from offensive rebounds are huge, particularly in the postseason. If he can build on a career-high 17 points-per-game from 2018/19, interest will grow throughout the coming season.
Waving goodbye to their centre might not seem ideal for the Pistons. It could, however, be a bonus.
After acquiring Blake Griffin, they have been stuck against the salary cap. A first-round exit in 2018/19 will likely be repeated this season – getting off of Drummond’s salary is their best chance of becoming a real threat for a deep run in the Eastern Conference.