In January 2018, the Detroit Pistons traded for Blake Griffin with the belief that pairing him with Andre Drummond would give them a better chance of winning the Eastern Conference and contending for an NBA championship. Unfortunately, after an early playoff exit last year, the Pistons are once again struggling and residing in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. Though they are only two wins behind the No. 8 seed Brooklyn Nets, rumors are circulating that Detroit might finally consider trading Drummond, Griffin, and other veterans to kick off a full-scale rebuild.
In his recent article, Chad Smith of Basketball Insiders agreed to the idea that it’s already time for the Pistons to take a different route. Even if Detroit has a healthy Drummond and Griffin playing this season, it still remains a big question mark if they have what it takes to beat Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers in a best-of-seven series. If they don’t want to remain mired in mediocrity, Smith believes that the Pistons should trade Drummond and Griffin before the February trade deadline and start focusing on the development of young players like Bruce Brown, Luke Kennard, Christian Wood, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Sekou Doumbouya.
In the potential trade involving Griffin, Smith considered the Portland Trail Blazers as an “option” to be his next landing spot. Unfortunately, with Griffin expected to miss the rest of the season due to injury, it is less likely that the Pistons would get any valuable trade asset in return for the All-Star forward.
“Obviously Griffin’s trade value is at an all-time low, given his injury and contract,” Smith wrote. “It will be difficult to find the right deal if Detroit elects to deal him. Portland may be an option but they will likely have better offers to consider. The Pistons may be stuck with the All-Star, but perhaps he can provide more trade value if he is able to come back and perform well next season.”
Meanwhile, since rumors have circulated that the Pistons have started listening to trade offers, several NBA teams have expressed interest in acquiring Drummond from Detroit. Compared to Griffin, he is currently 100 percent healthy and putting up big numbers this season. Smith thinks that trading the center to a rebuilding team like the Atlanta Hawks would give the Pistons a “solid return” that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.
“Though he may appear older, Drummond is still just 26 and in the prime of his career,” Smith wrote. “Atlanta has been one team rumored to be interested, which could yield a solid return for Detroit to utilize as they begin their rebuild.”
As much as Pistons’ fans hate a rebuild, it’s something that Detroit might have to consider if they want a better chance of becoming a prominent team in the league once again. Though it appears that the Pistons are still fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, it won’t be surprising if they really become active sellers before next month’s trade deadline.