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Knicks Trade Rumors: Andre Drummond Discussed with Pistons Ahead of Deadline

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 10, 2020

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 9: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons shoots the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 9, 2019 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Sevald/Getty Images

The 10-28 New York Knicks sit second-last in the Eastern Conference heading into their Friday matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans but may be considering making moves to improve ahead of February's trade deadline. 

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported that New York has inquired with the Detroit Pistons about center Andre Drummond:

Stadium @Stadium

"One team, I'm told, that has made an inquiry (on Andre Drummond) are the Knicks." NBA Insider @ShamsCharania shares an update on the Pistons center. https://t.co/xH3XB6VHtN

"One team, I'm told, that has made an inquiry [on Drummond] are the Knicks," Charania said.

"And the Knicks have seven draft picks over the next two years, including three first-rounders. They're in no rush to get off any of those draft picks, including those first-round picks. That's why there hasn't been any traction or any imminency to those conversations."

Charania noted the Pistons "aren't looking to take back long-term salary," which would seemingly rule out Knicks forward Julius Randle and his three-year deal heading to Detroit.

He also said the Knicks want to retain Marcus Morris after his one-year, $15 million contract expires after the year.

Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported Friday that the Pistons also have interest in point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

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Ian Begley @IanBegley

Worth noting on Pistons front: some with Detroit are fans of Knicks PG Dennis Smith Jr.: https://t.co/gQjdR5RDad

A Knicks trade for Drummond is puzzling at first glance. For one, he's a free agent in the summer provided he declines his 2020-21 player option, and the Knicks could hypothetically sign him then without giving up assets.

It isn't as if the Knicks are close to contending for the playoffs let alone a championship after winning just 10 games so far, so acquiring Drummond now likely won't save the team's season.

Drummond does score and rebound with ease, averaging 17.8 points and an NBA-leading 16.2 boards per game. He's paced the Association rebounding in three of his past four full seasons.

However, the big man isn't a great fit for a Knicks team in desperate need of more shooters from everywhere on the court. New York is 26th in field-goal percentage and 23rd in three-point percentage entering Friday.

The Knicks do have the third-worst rebounding differential in the league, but they also have a young and promising big man in Mitchell Robinson.

The 21-year-old has scored 10.1 points on 70.9 percent shooting and grabbed 6.9 rebounds in just 22.7 minutes on average. He's also under team control through the 2021-22 season provided the Knicks retain him over the next two years.

Robinson's deal is also cheap, as his highest salary would top out at $1.8 million should New York grab the 2021-22 team option.

The Knicks' best bet may be to let Robinson develop and see if he's worth a long-term investment from 2022 onward.

As Charania noted, the Pistons would want "young players or draft picks" in any trade. Robinson is arguably the team's best young asset outside RJ Barrett, who is presumably untouchable after going third overall in the 2019 NBA draft.

However, the Knicks would be better off retraining Robinson rather than potentially trading him and other resources for Drummond.

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