Andre Drummond on Trade Rumors: 'I'm Not a Quitter,' Wants to Stay with Pistons

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2020

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond said Saturday he's still committed to the team despite becoming the focus of trade rumors amid a 13-23 start to the 2019-20 NBA season.

"I'm not a quitter, for one," Drummond told reporters. "I was never brought up to be a quitter. If I start somewhere, I try to finish there, try to complete the mission, which is to win a championship here. It will never be me that wants to go anywhere ... I love being here. I would love to play here the rest of my career."

His comments came one day after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Pistons had started "escalating discussions" with multiple teams about a potential blockbuster involving the two-time All-Star, including "serious recent talks" with the Atlanta Hawks that could net Detroit a 2020 first-round draft pick.

Drummond is enjoying another strong statistical campaign despite the team's struggles. He's averaged 17.5 points, an NBA-high 15.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.8 blocks in 34 games. He ranks 22nd among all qualified players in Player Efficiency Rating, per ESPN.

He's also in the final guaranteed season of a five-year, $127.2 million contract with the Pistons. He holds a player option for next season at $28.8 million.

Drummond explained Saturday the trade speculation comes with the territory given his contract situation, the team's current standing and next month's deadline:

"I've been dealing with this since the year I signed my contract so the trade rumors will always come around, so this is another year for me. It's always that time of year around January where trade talks come. Nothing's happened. Obviously, the talks have started, so these questions will start to come. I've been looking forward to them coming, but for me, I'm just going to continue to play the game I play, play here in Detroit where I love to be, and whatever happens, happens."

The 26-year-old UConn product has spent his entire pro career with the Pistons, who selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

For now, Detroit and its star center are back in action Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.