The Knicks want to do what now? Trade for Pistons center Andre Drummond?
That’s what Shams Charania reported for Stadium on Friday. He said New York has inquired about Drummond, who is on the block as the Pistons languish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
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But, you may say, don’t the Knicks already have 15 big men on their roster? You’d be exaggerating slightly, but they do have a surplus of power forwards and centers, although they mostly fall below the 26-year-old Drummond, who’s averaging 17.8 points, 16.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
Let’s tease out from Charania’s report how a trade might work:
— The Pistons, it’s believed, want first-round draft picks or young players for Drummond. Charania notes the Knicks have three first-round selections over the next two drafts but are “in no rush” to part with them.
The Knicks also have “young players,” but most of them aren’t being showcased because the front office has insisted on playing those bigs in a failed attempt to make the Knicks a playoff team. RJ Barrett is being force-fed minutes as a rookie, but Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and Allonzo Trier have been getting spotty minutes, at best.
— Detroit doesn’t want to take back “long-term salary,” which would seem to take power forward Julius Randle, who’s in the first year of a three-year contract, off the table. Forward Marcus Morris (making $15 million this season) can become a free agent in July, but he’s interested in re-signing and the Knicks are signaling they’d like to bring him back, Charania noted. The other veteran short-timers on the roster are Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington. Their 2020-21 salaries are either nonguaranteed or partially guaranteed.
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Drummond, a New York native, would himself represent a short-term play for the Knicks, who are 10-29 after a home loss Friday to the Pelicans. He has only a player option for the 2020-21 season remaining after this season, at a healthy $28.75 million. He’s making $27 million in 2019-20.
Given all of that, it makes sense that Charania reported trade discussions have not gained any traction.