Auburn Hills — For a young NBA player, patience isn't always the first virtue exhibited.
Pistons center Andre Drummond is looking for his patience not only to pay off financially, but for team success.
Drummond has delayed his negotiations on a long-term extension to save the Pistons salary-cap space and allow them to try to go after key pieces to build a championship contender.
In the this, the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, Drummond will make $3.3 million before becoming a restricted free agent after the season. He likely will sign a maximum deal after the season in the neighborhood of five years and $120 million.
The Pistons and Drummond have until Nov. 2 to agree to an extension or wait until after the season. Although Drummond and owner Tom Gores had several conversations about which decision would be best, Drummond decided waiting was the best course of action.
"Andre has decided to delay negotiations until next summer," Pistons president/coach Van Gundy said. "Andre wants to be here long-term and we definitely want him here long-term, but after talking to Tom, Andre realized that our best chance to build a contender was to have the additional cap-space flexibility next year."
If Drummond had signed an extension before Nov. 2, it would have cost the Pistons an additional $12.7 million against the cap.
The Pistons, who haven't made the playoffs in six seasons, have a young nucleus of Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris. With the cap flexibility, that could be enhanced by a seasoned veteran or two, according to Van Gundy.
It's a risk for Drummond. His trust in Gores is the lynchpin for helping him wait until next summer to get the big contract.
"He's got great faith in his ability and in the organization and the direction we're heading that things will work out next summer," Van Gundy said. "We're all on the same page — we want to win, we want him here long-term and he wants to be here long-term."
Although Drummond is in line for a huge payday, he wasn't ready to rush it — nor to put the team in a tough position in terms of the cap.
"It shows a sign of maturity on my side to take that leap and give my team a chance to build what we have here," Drummond said.
"Would it be nice to have it? Absolutely, but that's not the point right now. I'm into winning and trying to make my team as good as possible."
Hornets at Pistons
Tip-off: 7:30 Wednesday, The Palace, Auburn Hills
Outlook: Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is getting closer to settling on a starting lineup, which will feature either rookie Stanley Johnson or Ersan Ilyasova. ... Steve Blake (concussion), Cartier Martin (hand) and Adonis Thomas (hamstring) are out.