As the NBA Finals head into Game 5, it also signals that the NBA season is coming to an end. It is during this period where non-contending teams get a head start and plan out their offseason, with front offices gauging which direction to head in. For underwhelming teams, such as the Detroit Pistons, the front office must explore each possibility.
The Pistons finished the 2016-17 season with a 37-45 record, as a part of an underwhelming rebuild. After seeming like a legit playoff contender for much of the season, the Pistons would lose 12 of their final 16 games.
The point guard and center combination of Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond was supposed to be the pillars of this playoff hopeful team. However, the 2016-17 season provided many challenges for respected head coach Stan Van Gundy. Now going into the offseason, the Pistons are reportedly exploring the trade market for both Drummond and Jackson, via Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:
Sources: Detroit Pistons are gauging the trade market on Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. Both were on the market at the trade deadline.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 8, 2017
Drummond averaged 13.6 points, 13.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.5 steals in 81 games played this season. The concerns surrounding him are that he has yet to develop any sustainable offensive skills. Because of his awful free throw shooting he is difficult to keep on the court down the stretch.
The 23-year-old center remains on the hook for four more seasons, after signing a five-year, $127 million contract this past offseason. His contract includes a player option for the final season and an eight percent trade kicker should he be dealt.
Jackson’s story is also worrying. The Pistons stole Jackson from the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were not willing to pay that lofty of a price with Russell Westbrook already leading the charge. He appeared in 52 games last season, as part of his recovery from knee tendinitis and other various injuries.
He averaged 14.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists during the 2016-17 season, but struggled tremendously with his 41.9 field goal percentage and 2.2 turnovers per game. Jackson was prone to highly inefficient games during the season, with Van Gundy constantly removing him from games based on production and health.
Jackson also signed a five-year, $80 million deal during the previous offseason, leaving four more seasons left on his contract. The Pistons actually gauged his value during the trade deadline, with the team coming close to trading him to the Orlando Magic.
With each player having four remaining years on their contract, the Pistons may have to come to grips with the regrettable decision made last season and attempt another rebuild.