As trade rumors swirl, Drummond focuses on team
Auburn Hills — The end of the All-Star break turned into not just another work day for Pistons center Andre Drummond.
Late Monday and early Tuesday, Drummond’s name popped up in trade rumors — ahead of Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline — making for a hectic return to practice on Tuesday evening.
The latest rumors involve several potential landing spots for Drummond, among them the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers. Reggie Jackson’s name also has been going around for the past few weeks.
On the first day back at practice, Drummond brushed off the rumors.
“It’s just the way NBA is; it’s all a business. Everybody’s name gets thrown around when you’re a high-profile guy,” Drummond said Tuesday evening. “My name happened to be in there. I’m not mad or anything like that. I’m still here to play basketball and whatever happens, happens. I can’t control that.”
In recent weeks, Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy has said in theory that any player on the roster is available for the right trade package in return, and didn’t back down on acknowledging Drummond’s name has popped up in talks recently.
Van Gundy said general manager Jeff Bower has been doing his due diligence over the past few weeks — customary activity just before the trade deadline — and gauging the market for any or all of their players, including Drummond.
“There hasn’t been a serious discussion about Andre, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been discussions about Andre,” Van Gundy said. “The concern would be from Andre’s standpoint, if nobody had any interest in him, if I were him, I’d be concerned.”
Drummond, who signed a five-year max deal for more than $125 million in the summer, is positioned as the Pistons’ franchise player and though having his name bounced around in trade talk could be unnerving, he’s looking to shift the focus from himself.
“What’s that got to do with my team? We’re worried about the second half of the season; I can’t control what happens in the trade rumors,” Drummond said. “I’m just here to play basketball. If I get traded, I get traded; if I don’t, I don’t. I’m here to play.”
Drummond, 23, averaging 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds — just off his numbers from last season — is in his fifth season and as a traditional big man, is becoming more of a rarity in the league. Still, teams are interested.
While Drummond’s name is being bounced around for the first time in his career, it’s just a part of the routine near the deadline.
“It won’t be the last (time),” Van Gundy said. “This is the NBA; this stuff happens and it happens all the time. It happens every year and then what usually happens is when your name is not out there — that’s when you get traded.”
“We got Marcus when his name wasn’t out there. We got Anthony Tolliver; his name wasn’t out there. We got Tobias; his name wasn’t out there. Go ahead and chart all the rumors and 95 percent of them minimum will not happen and probably 90 percent of them were never even discussed seriously."
Van Gundy noted that the blockbuster trade sending DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans wasn’t reported before it was completed. Some of the trade rumors started after Drummond posted an eye emoji on Twitter, on the same night that Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas did, which sparked speculation that the Pistons and Celtics were potentially working on a deal.
From there, the innuendo took on a life of its own, across social media, for most of the day on Tuesday. When asked about it, Drummond brushed off the idea that there was any hidden meaning in his social media doings.
“I’m a grown man; I can change my profile if I want to. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is — if I want to change my profile picture, I can,” Drummond said. “If (you all) want to speculate about that, by all means, go for it."