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Auburn Hills — The Pistons appear to be willing to make Andre Drummond happy now, with hopes that it will pay long-term dividends.

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.

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.

But sometimes the right move is to make a player happy, especially one who is as valuable to the Pistons as Drummond. His salary for next season is locked at $3.3 million.

"We will get into those talks," Van Gundy said. "We agreed we would get into this after this free-agency period and after the summer league. There is no rush. We have until the end of October so we will get into those talks in the next couple of weeks.

"What you are talking about there is more timing than anything. It is not like you will be haggling over dollars, so it is a different situation."

What a deal

Reggie Jackson hopes he plays so well that his five-year, $80 million contract becomes a bargain two years from now. The Pistons are banking on the same thing.

The Pistons do not want to get into bidding wars for their own players two or three years down the road and are looking to sign guys for longer contracts.

There will be huge bidding wars three years from now when a lot of free-agent contracts expire. Instead of bidding against the entire league in three years, the Pistons feel they have a better shot at battling against nine or 10 team teams five years down the road.

Signing Jackson to a five-year deal is a bit of a risk, but if he plays well, then Jackson becomes a highly sought after commodity who is firmly in the Pistons' back pocket.

"If Reggie plays the way we think he is going to play we are going to look back and say that was a hell of a decision," Van Gundy said. "That is the one thing we said, when we get a good young player being able to lock them up long term is good. I don't think in this market we wanted short term. For us having a guy under contract is good."

tfoster@detroitnews.com

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