The Charlotte Hornets are reportedly set to "target" Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, though it's unclear whether they'll make a push to acquire him before the NBA trade deadline in February or wait until he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Sean Deveney of Heavy reported Friday the Pistons have "not yet considered moving" Drummond this season, but that could change following the team's 4-10 start.
"He'll be a priority [in Charlotte]," a source told Deveney. "It's just a matter of whether they make him a priority now and give up something to get him or try to make the move later. It's a very cautious group, Mitch Kupchak and those guys. But they might want to get this guy into the fold sooner rather than later, there's just a lot of incentive there on both sides."
Drummond is in the final guaranteed season of his five-year, $127.2 million contract with the Pistons. He can utilize a player option in the deal to become a free agent after the 2019-20 campaign.
The 26-year-old UConn product made comments in August that made it sound like a trip into the open market was a foregone conclusion.
"I'm a free agent next summer," Drummond told reporters. "Yeah, it should be fun. I'm excited. I think I'm the only one that has a big contract coming up for the year."
In October, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported the sides have discussed an extension, but the two-time All-Star "would like to sign the second maximum contract of his career" and an offer of anything less from Detroit would probably lead him to free agency.
If the Pistons aren't prepared to give him a max deal, shifting focus to a potential trade is a likely step with the team already facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Charlotte has built a promising group of backcourt and wing players led by Devonte' Graham, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon. It also has rookie PJ Washington as a high-upside stretch 4 after a strong start to his NBA career.
Drummond, who's averaging 18.6 points, a league-leading 16.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks through 14 appearances this season, would seem like a perfect fit for the Hornets' roster.
The question is whether Charlotte is comfortable giving up some assets to acquire him within the next couple months to make a postseason push this season or wait to see if it can attract him in free agency.