The latest New York Knicks rumors connect the team to Andre Drummond, but a potential deal creates far more questions than answers.
There’s a reason bad teams tend to remain that way for prolonged stretches, with the latest news out of the Big Apple another in a long list of questionable decision making that’s buried the New York Knicks franchise for most of this century.
After The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported an inquiry made by New York to the Detroit Pistons regarding the trade status of Andre Drummond, SNY‘s Ian Begley stated talks between the two sides have since moved past the exploratory phase.
Drummond is elite at what he does, an incredible rebounder at both ends with historical records to prove it. He’s averaging a career-best 17.6 points this season and a league-high 15.9 rebounds along with 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.
Nobody in the NBA is replicating those numbers in 2019-20 or at any other recorded point in league history.
If his numbers did all the talking, plenty more teams would be calling Detroit leading up to the Feb. 6 trade deadline. There’s a reason a majority of the 30 teams aren’t, and why the Knicks aren’t among them is as baffling as it is depressingly expected.
For all of Drummond’s statistical feats, they’ve never amounted to much for the Pistons since he arrived in 2012. They’ve won no more than 44 games with just two playoff appearances and not a single victory to show for it during that time.
There’s nothing wrong with the inability to lead a franchise. Only a handful of superstars truly can. The issue lies when said player believes otherwise and is seeking to get paid accordingly.
Armed with a $28.7 million player option for next season, Drummond is likely to opt-out of his current deal in pursuit of a long-term contract paying him far above $100 million that would handcuff even the most flexible of franchises.
It’s hard to envision a justifiable scenario that sees the Knicks sacrifice assets to acquire Drummond, forgetting for a moment he could be had for nothing — salary cap aside, which would also be problematic — should he choose to enter 2020 free agency.
Mitchell Robinson might not have progressed the way many had hoped in Year 2, but he’s still the lanky athletic shot-blocker who spews incredible potential on a nightly basis.
Slotting him behind Drummond for the foreseeable future all but stunts the youngster’s growth and keeps him from becoming anything close to his best self down the line.
Per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, the Pistons would look for a return package highlighted by Frank Ntilikina, the third-year New York guard who is slowly coming out of his shell to produce at both ends.
The bar is set laughably low, but Ntilikina is the best point guard prospect the Knicks have had in some time who is only now starting to string together a semblance of consistency.
Shipping him off once again leaves a gaping hole at New York’s point guard spot and unnecessarily overflows another.
You would think the Knicks wouldn’t be silly enough to make this type of deal for all the aforementioned reasons that include a negligent tie-up of cap space for a player unlikely to attract big names the franchise desperately covets.
But given the organization’s track record of deals including Antonio McDyess and Andrea Bargnani, it’s difficult for fans these days to take any report of this sort lightly.
Drummond’s value would sky-rocket in just about any other era, but he simply doesn’t move the needle these days like a big man of his caliber once did.
Of course, every player is worth it at a certain price. Combine, however, the looming hefty contract, whatever pieces it would take to get a deal done and the absence of any real need for him from a position standpoint, and Drummond’s cost is to the point where one has to wonder why the Knicks went barking up that tree in the first place.