The Detroit Pistons are welcoming offers on two players previously thought off-limits — former All-Star center Andre Drummond and swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — as Thursday’s trade deadline nears, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Pistons have not committed to trading either player but have also not discouraged offers from interested teams for the two most prized names on their roster.
Detroit, meanwhile, has steadfastly continued to pursue a new home for point guard Reggie Jackson before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. Over the past two months, ESPN.com has reported serious negotiations between the Pistons and two teams (Minnesota and Orlando) involving Jackson, but sources said Wednesday that the prospects of a Jackson deal with the Magic this week were fading.
Sources say Drummond is especially well-regarded by Pistons owner Tom Gores and thus unlikely to be dealt before Thursday’s deadline. The Detroit Free Press also termed it “very likely” that Drummond will remain with the Pistons.
Yet that has not stopped Detroit from engaging with teams on Drummond scenarios this week, sources say, with the 7-footer in the first season of a five-year, $127 million contract extension signed in July.
One league source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the Portland Trail Blazers called to inquire about Drummond but quickly abandoned their interest when Detroit asked for Blazers guard C.J. McCollum in return. The Blazers, sources told Shelburne, regard McCollum as an untouchable.
Sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, meanwhile, that the Pistons and Toronto Raptors have also had exploratory Drummond discussions.
The Brooklyn Nets, sources say, are another team Detroit has engaged with on Drummond. Sources say Detroit also expressed an interest in DeMarcus Cousins before Sacramento traded Cousins to New Orleans with the understanding that Drummond would have to be included in talks with the Kings had they progressed.
“Jeff talks to virtually every team in the league all the time,” Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy told local reporters Tuesday night, referring to Detroit general manager Jeff Bower.
“As I’ve said before, every name on our roster has come up. That’s his job. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. There hasn’t been a serious discussion about Andre, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been discussions about Andre. The concern, I guess, would be from Andre’s standpoint if nobody had any interest in him.”
Asked by local reporters Tuesday night about dealing with trade speculation for the first time in his career, Drummond said: “That’s just the way it is. Everybody’s name gets thrown around when you’re a high-profile guy. My name happened to be in there. I’m not mad or anything like that. I’m still here to play basketball. Whatever happens happens. I can’t control that.”
ESPN.com reported last month that Caldwell-Pope — who will be a restricted free agent this summer — had joined Drummond on Detroit’s short list of untouchables. To part with Caldwell-Pope, sources say Detroit would expect at least one future first-round pick and front-line player in return.
Despite the Pistons’ well-chronicled struggles and team tension since Jackson’s return from a 21-game injury absence to start the season, Detroit won six of nine games to move into the East’s eighth and final playoff berth entering the All-Star break. The Pistons play 13 of their final 25 games at home.