With career averages of 14.1 points and 13.7 rebounds in seven seasons with the Detroit Pistons, as shown on his Basketball-Reference page, Andre Drummond has emerged as one of the top big men in the Eastern Conference. But could he be looking to take his talents elsewhere next summer, given how the Pistons have made the playoffs only two times over those seven years and bowed out after the first round on both occasions?
According to the Detroit Free Press, Drummond "made his intentions clear" during a recent interview at the Osgood Shootout tournament in New Britain, Connecticut, where he emphasized to a reporter that he will be eligible for free agency next summer. He then expressed that next year's free agency period "should be fun," considering that he's "the only one" that has a lucrative contract due to expire in the summer of 2020.
As further cited, the two-time All-Star center also told the reporter that he wants to make the most out of his "contract year" and help the Pistons win more games in the upcoming 2019-20 season.
Per the Detroit Free Press, Andre Drummond signed a five-year, $127.2 million contract in 2016, with a $28.8 million player option for the final year in 2020-21. He is coming off a 2018-19 campaign where he averaged 17.3 points, 15.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game in the regular season for Detroit, but had a rough stretch during the playoffs, where the Pistons were defeated in the first round by the first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
Although next year's free-agency class likely won't be as impressive as those from recent years, Drummond is "arguably the biggest name" who could become eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2020, the Detroit Free Press opined. Earlier this month, Draymond Green took himself out of the 2020 free-agent pool when he signed an extension with the Golden State Warriors. Furthermore, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis, who also has a player option for the final year of his contract, is "widely expected" to sign a new deal with the Lakers next summer, the publication added.Talking about Drummond's prospects as a free agent, Fansided blog Piston Powered pointed out that Detroit owns the 26-year-old center's Bird rights, thus allowing the organization to offer a longer contract for more money than other teams could. Using estimates based on the 2019-20 NBA season's salary cap, the outlet projected that the Pistons could offer Drummond a maximum contract of $190 million over five years next summer, as compared to other teams, which would likely be limited to a maximum offer of $140 million over four years.
"The reality is that he will likely command a maximum contract," Piston Powered continued. "But if the salary cap is decreasing [as rumored], that may limit the number of teams that can afford him and stay under the luxury tax."