In early January, word broke from multiple sources that the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons were in trade discussions surrounding All-Star center Andre Drummond. Less than two weeks later, however, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported on Thursday afternoon that the Hawks are “are no longer engaging” in talks with Detroit.
With several weeks before the Feb. 6 deadline, it is still entirely possible that talks could resume between the two sides. At this juncture, Haynes’ reporting indicates that Atlanta is “seeking to remain patient, knowing there will be options to improve via the draft and during free agency.”
It isn’t shocking to see the Hawks reportedly walk away from the table, simply because Drummond is expected to enter unrestricted free agency in July. Atlanta would be in a strong theoretical position to pursue the highly productive big man as one of the few teams with max-level salary cap space and a documented need at center.
With that as the backdrop, Haynes reports that, barring another center acquisition, Drummond is “expected to be” one of Atlanta’s top targets in free agency. A free agent pursuit arguably makes more sense in the Hawks’ situation for a player that is on what amounts to an expiring contract. Within the same piece, Haynes nods toward the potential of a pursuit of Oklahoma City center Steven Adams in advance of the trade deadline, though Adams is under contract through the end of the 2020-21 campaign and the Thunder are currently in the midst of the playoff chase in the West.
The Hawks moved swiftly to address another need on Thursday, acquiring Jeff Teague to provide a high-end backup option to Trae Young. Still, the starting center position has been a central talking point since well before the 2019-20 season began and, well, it isn’t going away until the issue is resolved.
It remains to be seen as to whether Drummond, Adams or another center will be “the guy” for the Hawks at the position for 2020-21 and beyond. For now, though, it appears that the Drummond pursuit could be cooling and Thursday, Jan. 16 provided quite a flurry of activity surrounding the Atlanta professional basketball club.