NBA Trade Buzz: Knicks Now Have Serious Interest In Pistons All-Star Big Man

NBA Trade Buzz: Knicks Now Have Serious Interest In Pistons All-Star Big Man

New York reaches out to Detroit for services of Drummond

It is no secret that the Detroit Pistons have been trying to shop All-Star center Andre Drummond for a while now. Well, it turns out that they have a serious suitor for the rebounding machine. Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to say that the Knicks have inquired about a potential deal for Drummond, a report that Ian Begley of SNY confirmed. Begley emphasized that the conversation between the Knicks and the Pistons has escalated to a serious tone.

“New York did indeed touch base with Detroit about a potential Andre Drummond trade. Now, things can and do change quickly here in trade season, because we’re so close to the deadline. But I was told that the Knicks’ recent talks with Detroit were indeed more serious than just an exploratory nature.”

The Knicks have been desperate to nab a star player for some time now, and the opportunity to trade for Drummond could be too good for them to pass up. However, it should be worth noting that Drummond can enter unrestricted free agency next summer. He still has a player option for the last year of his contract, but there is a solid belief that the big man will opt out to gain a more lucrative, multi-year deal with a team of his choice. If Drummond walks out on them in free agency and signs with another team, then the Knicks have traded their assets to the Pistons for nothing.

However, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press recently reported that it was not the Knicks front office who reached to the Pistons for a Drummond deal. Ellis would reiterate that it was actually the Pistons management who “initiated” the discussions.

“Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Friday the Knicks have express interest in Drummond, news which was confirmed by others.
I checked Saturday morning with a league source familiar with the Knicks’ front office thinking and was told, “there’s nothing there.”
The source said it was the Pistons who initiated discussions with a package centered around Drummond and another Pistons player for big man Julius Randle and guard Frank Ntilikina, a player the Pistons have previously tried to pry from the Knicks.”

While Randle and Ntilikina could be great starting points for initial negotiations, it is still not certain if the Knicks are willing to take a risk in Drummond. They just acquired Randle last summer, a borderline star who they see as an excellent piece in their rebuilding process. But if the Pistons could nab them in the potential deal, it would prove to be great, low-risk, high-return assets for them. Randle is only 25 year old, while Ntilikina is only 21. Randle is averaging all-around numbers of 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season. Ntilikina, a French native, is still figuring out his niche in the league. But his length and athleticism have helped him to already become a good defender, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for his development in the years to come.

Ellis also reported that the Pistons have now made their entire roster available in trade talks. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer bared that Pistons’ gunners Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway are coveted by the Philadelphia 76ers.

“The #Sixers have expressed interest in #Detroit #Pistons guards Langston Galloway and Luke Kennard and free-agent Jeff Green, according to multiple league sources.”

Galloway and Kennard are two off-ball long-range scorers that the Sixers really need right now. It’s no secret that Philly has been looking all over the place for someone to fill the void left by sharpshooter JJ Redick as the veteran shooting guard has signed with the New Orleans Pelicans last summer. Kennard, a lefty third-year sweet-shooting swingman, has seen a spike in his production this season. He is putting up 15.8 points and 3.5 assists per game, and has been displaying his playmaking skills by giving out 4.1 assists. Most importantly, Kennard has shot a stellar 41% clip from beyond the arc in his three years in the league.

Another Detroit player who has entered the trade rumor circle is former Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose. Rose has been great in his sixth man role for the Pistons, norming averages of 17.8 points and 5.8 assists per contest. The 31-year old former All-Star signed a two-year, $15 million deal with Detroit just last summer. While he is informed that his name has been surfacing on trade speculations, Rose said that he and his agent haven’t talked about the possibilities yet, as per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports.

"I haven't really thought about it. Me and [agent] B.J. [Armstrong] haven't talked about it. When we have talked, it was more about All-Star and what appearances I have for Adidas. It wasn't anything else as far as like what teams are calling, this and that. We were pretty straightforward. We talk about how I play."

Aside from Drummond, Rose, Kennard and Galloway, rumors have also surrounded their main star, Blake Griffin. However, Griffin just underwent a knee surgery, making it very difficult for the Pistons front office to construct a trade deal around him.

Blazers set to revamp roster before trade deadline

It has been confusing as to how disappointing the Portland Trail Blazers have been this season. After reaching the Western Conference Finals last year, many expected Damian Lillard and the Blazers to finally peak this season. But that has not been the case. They are sporting a 16-24 record, and sitting on the 11th spot in the conference. With that said, it won’t be surprising if the Blazers front office pull off multiple trade deals to shore up their roster.

During a podcast sit-down with Tom Haberstoh of NBC Sports, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said that recently-acquired players Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore will be shipped before the February trade deadline.

"There will be a move made, for sure. It's hard for me to believe that Hassan   Whiteside and Kent Bazemore will still be there past the trade deadline.
They just expire and that's why it's hard for me to believe that they'll be on the roster past that deadline. A move will be made. This is Dame's spot. He just signed his super max this past summer. He didn't sign up to be on a team like this. Nobody thought this was going to be the team. The front office, it's their call now. It's their play. I know Terry Stotts is going to get a lot of heat for what's been going on this season, and likely so. He's the coach. He's got to take some blame, but I think we all see flaws in this roster.”

While Whiteside has been producing monster double-double numbers of 15.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game for Portland, his expiring contract could net the Blazers some good assets for the roster and for their future. Moreover, it is also expected that Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins will be the team’s priorities for the center position once they come back from their respective injuries.

Haynes would also reiterate that it remains to be seen if the Blazers indeed pursue Cleveland Cavaliers star big man Kevin Love. Portland could flip the expiring contracts of Whiteside and/or Bazemore to the Cavaliers, and maybe add Collins or young combo guard Anfernee Simons to the mix. However, Haynes emphasized that the Blazers will be very hesitant in making their young assets available in negotiations.

"I believe they have the assets, and I don't believe they'll deal Anfernee [Simons] and  Zach [Collins]. He [Neil Olshey] loves that kid [Anfernee]. I look at Whiteside too. The deal is attractive, expiring deals, but then you got to go in there with that young roster, with those young, impressionable guys and Cleveland could definitely make a move after that trade if they wanted to.”

Collins, a 22-year old seven-footer versatile center, only played three games this season before suffering a shoulder injury that required a surgery. The timetable after his November surgery was at least four months, which means that Collins could return in April when the playoff starts. Of course, that is if the Blazers indeed book a seat in the postseason.

Meanwhile, Simons has been a steady presence off the bench for the Blazers. The sophomore guard is averaging 9.6 points and 2.6 rebounds this season. While those are not eye-popping stats, Simons has a certain steady factor in his game that is unique for young point guards like him.

A sports aficionado ever since he first held a basketball, Paul was a student athlete in school and college. Today, he teaches English in university by day and a freelance sportswriter by night.

Read more