San Francisco — During NBA trade season, Andre Drummond is like many of the fans and insiders around the league, who get a shock when trade rumors surface.
Drummond has gotten used to it through the past few years of his career, when his name has been bandied about as a potential trade target. It happened again Friday, when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a nugget that the Pistons were in talks with the Atlanta Hawks for a potential Drummond trade.
The rumor came as a surprise to him when he saw it on his phone.
“(It was) the same way everybody else found out about it — on social media. That's the new news source,” Drummond told The Detroit News on Saturday. “For me, I don't really care to look at it. If it's real, it's real; if it's not, it's not.”
Drummond, who has one year left on his contract — a player option for $28.8 million — has been the subject of rumors for the past few seasons. The Pistons, who are 13-23 after Saturday’s win over the Golden State Warriors, appear poised to shift into a rebuild and with the uncertainty around whether Drummond will opt-in to his deal, are doing due diligence.
The Hawks are among a handful of teams that have shown interest in acquiring Drummond, but he’s trying to block out the rumors and avoid having it become a distraction. It’s making the rounds on social media, but until — or if — something is done, he’s trying to stay focused.
“I'm just here to play basketball. I can't control what the front office does. If they make the move, they make the move. I can't control that; I just have to play the game to the best of my ability,” Drummond told The News. “I’m here in Detroit now and that's all that matters. So, until that day comes — if it does, or if it doesn't — that's not for me to know.
“I just keep putting this jersey on and keeping playing to the best of my ability.”
Drummond had 14 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 29 minutes Saturday against the Warriors and said that he didn’t let the talk become a distraction in what he was doing. He had a sluggish first half but bounced back in the second half with better results.
He said he’s spoken to coach Dwane Casey about the trade talk as well, but as was the case with former coach Stan Van Gundy in previous seasons, the message is clear.
“I mean, it wasn't really much to talk about. He said, ‘You know it's that (trade) time of year again,’” Drummond said. “There's nothing that's imminent; it's not like they'll move me tomorrow. Obviously, they're listening, but I think I'm fine where I'm at.”
For Drummond, who is the longest-tenured Pistons player, with eight seasons in Detroit, it’s a cycle of trade talk, but the fact that he’s considering opting-out and what free agency could bring, there’s a distinction.
It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like Detroit and what he’s done with the Pistons. With a small group of elite-level free agents, he could be in line for a big payday. This time is a little different, because of the Pistons’ record and possible direction toward rebuilding, the business of the basketball may force the Pistons’ hand to try to trade him.
“I've been dealing with this since the year I signed my contract so trade rumors will always come around; it's just another year for me. So it's that time of the year in January, where trade talks come,” he said. “Obviously, the talks have started so these questions will start to come so I've been looking forward to them coming but for me, I'm just going to continue to play the game I play here in Detroit, where I love to be — and whatever happens happens.”
Pistons at Lakers
Tip-off: 10 p.m. Sunday, Staples Center, Los Angeles
Outlook: The Pistons (13-23) ended their three-game skid by beating the Warriors on Saturday night and look to take down the Lakers (28-7), who have won four straight games and have the best record in the Western Conference.