AP Source: Pistons, Drummond working on 5-year max contract
Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond now has a big contract, too.
Drummond agreed to terms on a five-year maximum contract worth $130 million on Friday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The two sides started negotiating the contract after the market opened at midnight EDT on Friday and quickly found common ground before coming to full agreement in the afternoon, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be signed until July 7.
Drummond was a restricted free agent, but few in the league believed he was interested in entertaining other offers. The Pistons would have had the right to match any offer made by another team, and coach and team president Stan Van Gundy made it clear from the start that the burly center wasn't going anywhere.
Detroit could offer Drummond more money and more years than any other team in the league, and Van Gundy put the maximum contract offer in front of him right from the start to take any guess work out of the process.
Drummond averaged 16.2 points and an NBA-leading 14.8 rebounds for the Pistons last season, giving Van Gundy a powerful force in the paint to slug it out in the rugged Eastern Conference. His strength, size and throwback game certainly give the Pistons a different dimension in today's small-ball NBA.
He has fast become a cornerstone of what Van Gundy is trying to do in his Detroit rebuilding project.
Drummond's scoring and rebounding averages have risen annually, and he was an All-Star for the first time this past season. The numbers he put up last season were the most robust by a Pistons big man since Bob Lanier in 1972-73. And it was almost a certainty that Drummond would be rewarded with a massive contract, especially with the salary cap soaring from $70 million this past season to somewhere around $95 million for next season.
The only thing slowing Drummond down is a 35.5 percent free throw rate that causes Van Gundy to bench him late in games when opponents foul him on purpose to put him on the line. Van Gundy has said he is confident Drummond can make drastic improvements in that area of his game to make him and even bigger force for Detroit.
Van Gundy's rebuilding project has formed a new identity for the franchise around a group of young players including Drummond, Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson.
But it all starts with Drummond, who draws immediate double teams in the post to open things up for his teammates on the perimeter. Van Gundy followed a similar model in building the Orlando Magic into an Eastern Conference power by surrounding powerful center Dwight Howard with shooters and defensive stoppers on the wing.
The deal has a player option for the final season.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.