Despite losing reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Toronto Raptors are surprisingly doing well in the 2019-20 NBA season, sitting at the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 24-12 record. However, though they are expected to extend their playoff streak, the Raptors obviously need to make major upgrades on their roster in order to have a strong chance of defending their throne. According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA superstars that the Raptors could target before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline is Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.
Unlike the Raptors, Drummond and the Pistons are struggling in the 2019-20 NBA season. The Pistons have lost eight of their last 10 games and are three wins behind the No. 8 seed, Orlando Magic. With their inability to consistently win games, rumors have started to circulate that the Pistons will move Drummond before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
As Bailey noted, replacing Marc Gasol with Drummond makes a lot of sense for the Raptors. Though he’s not a reliable floor-spacer like Gasol, Drummond would still be an incredible addition to the Raptors, giving them an All-Star caliber big man who perfectly fits the timeline of Pascal Siakam.
“But Drummond is eight years younger than Marc Gasol. And while he’s clearly not the passer Gasol is, he’s shown some chops in that area over recent years. Prior to Griffin’s acquisition in the 2017-18 season, Drummond was averaging 3.9 assists per game. That’s more than Gasol has averaged as a Raptor. On defense, Drummond may not be quite as heady as Gasol, but he’s still young and would have time to grow on that end under the tutelage of Nick Nurse. Plus, his all-time-great-level rebounding would help shore up one of Toronto’s weaknesses: The Raptors are 27th in defensive rebounding percentage.”
While Gasol is already on the downside of his NBA career, Drummond is just entering his prime. Drummond is a walking double-double machine and a very dominant presence under the basket. This season, the 26-year-old center is averaging 17.5 points, 15.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 2.0 steals while shooting 53.6 percent from the field.
To acquire him from the Pistons, Bailey suggested that the Raptors could offer a trade package including Gasol and a future first-round pick to Detroit in exchange for Drummond. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Raptors but also for the Pistons.
The potential deal would allow the Pistons to have salary-cap flexibility while acquiring a future first-round pick that they could use to add a young and promising talent on their roster. However, Gasol and a future first-round selection may not be enough to convince the Pistons to make a deal. If the Raptors are serious about acquiring Drummond, they may need to include another future draft pick or a young player in the trade package.