The departure of Kemba Walker in the 2019 NBA free agency period marked the start of the Charlotte Hornets‘ rebuilding process. Recently, Sean Deveney of Heavy revealed that the Hornets are “primed” to get rid of their veterans who have lucrative deals and are looking for players whom they believe would fit with their long-term plans. One of the players who is reportedly topping the list of their potential targets is Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.
One league executive reportedly told Deveney that the Hornets consider Drummond as a “priority” as they see him as the player who would speed up the building process.
“He’ll be a priority there,” the league executive said. “It’s just a matter of whether they make him a priority now and give up something to get him or try to make the move later. It’s a very cautious group, Mitch Kupchak and those guys. But they might want to get this guy into the fold sooner rather than later, there’s just a lot of incentive there on both sides.”
With the contracts of Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist expiring after the 2019-20 NBA season, the Hornets will be heading into the coming offseason with enough salary-cap space for a max contract. Drummond may be under contract with the Pistons until the 2020-21 season, but he is reportedly planning to exercise the player option on his deal that will enable him to test the free agency market next summer. However, there is still a chance that the Hornets would no longer wait until the offseason to add Drummond to their roster.
As Deveney noted, the Hornets could make a “credible offer” to the Pistons for Drummond. They have expiring contracts that could match Drummond’s massive salary and could include a combination of a young player and a future draft pick in the trade package. Supposing that they get an assurance from Drummond that he intends to stay long-term in Charlotte, trading at least one of Devonte Graham, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, or P.J. Washington could make lots of sense for the Hornets.
Drummond would be an incredible addition to the Hornets, giving them one of the most dominant big men in the league and someone who fits the timeline of their young core. In 16 games this season, the 26-year-old center is posting incredible numbers– he has averages of 18.5 points, 16.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.7 steals — while shooting 54.4 percent from the field. If Drummond and the Hornets’ young core grow together and build good chemistry, Charlotte will undeniably become a team to watch out for in the Eastern Conference.
As of now, the Pistons haven’t shown any strong indication that they are planning to trade Drummond. However, if they continue to struggle this season and find themselves out of the playoff race, expect rumors surrounding the center to heat up before the February trade deadline.