Dumars, Pistons hoping patience pays with Drummond

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Dumars, Pistons hoping patience pays with Drummond

ORLANDO, Fla. Former UConn big man Andre Drummond, the youngest member of the 2012 NBA draft class, has already figured out some old school tricks of the trade.

During a time-out against the Orlando Magic summer league team, Drummond, drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round with the No. 9 overall pick, stayed right next to Magic forward Kyle O'Quinn who tried to go to different parts of the court, only to find Drummond right there with him.

"I did that purposely," Drummond said. "It's a part of the game, try and get in people's heads; get them out of their rhythm. I kept following him around and it looked like he got annoyed, so I kept doing it. It kind of threw him off a little bit."

Drummond has already taken strides towards the mental aspect of the game which is kind of scary when you consider how physically gifted the 18-year-old is right now.

While Drummond certainly has played well in the Pistons' first two preseason games, the Pistons plan on being as patient as possible when it comes to his development.

"We said from Day 1, that we are absolutely not going to judge his immediate impact on the floor," Joe Dumars, Detroit's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com. "The big thing about him, is his work ethic, getting him to be a pro and how to grow into becoming a pro. We're not so much worried about production on the floor right now or immediate impact. We're simply looking at his growth pattern."

Said Drummond: "I'm a young guy, soak up as much as I can and wait until year two to make that next step. Right now, I'm just trying to have a great learning process."

Because of his youth, most agree that the upside to Drummond's game is huge. But with that youth comes a high degree of uncertainty as to the kind of player Detroit would be getting.

"I was concerned about learning as much as I could about the kid," Dumars said. "That was the main concern for us. We did a tremendous amount of background on this kid. We talked to more people pertaining to the background of this kid, than any kid we ever drafted. Because he was so young. We wanted to make sure that we had a feel for this kid. Is he going to come in and work? Is he receptive to tough coaching? Is he receptive to being patient?

"We needed to find out all those things before we decided to draft this kid. We did a lot of homework on this kid. Very smart kid, very bright kid. The only thing now is, half is on him to continue working hard. The other half is on us to bring him along at the right pace."

Part of that is allowing him to grow without the necessary pressure that comes with being a top-10 pick.

"When you're dealing with an 18-year-old, it would be unfair of us to judge him on his immediate impact," Dumars said. "He's so young. We realize that. We're not just going to throw him out there just because we took him with the ninth pick. But we like the growth potential in this guy."

In Detroit's 76-73 win on Monday over Utah, Drummond had eight points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

The Pistons defeated Orlando 79-74 on Tuesday, but Drummond's impact was nearly as great. He had three points, three rebounds and a blocked shot.

Whether you're a lottery pick or a free agent pick-up, there are going to be stretches of up and down play. But the potential for greatness - and the fact it comes in such a young package - gives the Pistons hope that the best days of Drummond's career are indeed ahead of him.

"We feel he's going to be a very good player in this league," Dumars said. "But it's going to take a little time. Of course we'd love if he came out and just dominated, but we know it's a process that we are absolutely not going to rush."

Dumars added, "The one thing about him, he listens. And he takes in everything you say to him.The fact that he's listening and he's willing to learn at 18 years old is great for him and his future, as well as for us with him part of that future."

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

NEW ORLEANS – All-star weekend is winding down and the Boston Celtics once again are seemingly at the epicenter of most trade discussions.

That’s in part because they have the pieces to help pull off a blockbuster deal for themselves, or become the third team to help facilitate a trade coming to fruition. 

But in talking with league executives and scouts this weekend in New Orleans, all agree that the Celtics are focused more on making a blockbuster-type move, rather than a deal that could make them slightly better than they are now. 

“Anything is possible as you know,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “But they’re not Toronto which is basically 'all in' this year to try and get past Cleveland. Boston’s in the thick of it all, but not pressed to do anything unless it makes them a lot better and to be frank, there aren’t a lot of those potential deals out there for them.”

That’s because the Celtics (37-20) have the second-best record in the East despite their preferred starting five (Isaiah Thomas; Avery Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson) having played a very limited number of games (21) together thus far this season.

Even when everyone’s healthy, Boston understands that they still may not be enough to get past the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. So the addition of a likely role player at the cost of one or more of their major assets (this year’s right to swap picks with Brooklyn or next year’s Brooklyn pick outright), is reason enough for Boston to pause and assess whether the benefit outweighs the cost of what they will have to give up. 

Boston can make a push for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari or his teammate Kenneth Faried who are both available and would help Boston’s overall talent base. They could also revisit Jahlil Okafor discussions or Nerlens Noel with Philadelphia, too.

But for what they need to significantly improve upon where they are now, they have to add a game-changing difference-maker to the mix. 

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. 

Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. 

That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.

Boston has exactly what the Bulls are looking for if they decide they are going to move on from Butler and rebuild, but how much are the Celtics willing to give up?

That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them. 

Even if the Celtics decide to stand pat with its team as they are now and let the Feb. 23 trade deadline pass without making a move, the Celtics are still working from a vantage point that few teams in the NBA can work from – a team near the top of their conference with relatively young players all with good team-friendly contracts, and draft picks in the next two years that are each likely to be high lottery (top-14) picks.

"They’re well positioned for the future,” said Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the West all-star team. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach (Brad Stevens) and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft which is remarkable.”

Kerr added, “That doesn’t happen often when you’re talking about a team that’s one of the best in the league already. Boston’s in a great place.”

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Most NBA teams would benefit from adding Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. But few NBA have the assets to acquire him. The most legitimate suitor in the NBA resides in Boston.

"The potential of a Boston-Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler -- I think it will loom over the entire week," Yahoo! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Saturday. "These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade. They have not gotten far down the road on it. There still needs to be alignment within the Bulls organization -- from ownership to management -- that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.

He added: "But the poential of this deal really illustrates the State Farm right combo, because these are two teams that have exactly what the other wants. Boston has been hoarding assets for years for a couple of season, trying to get in the position to get a star player."

Wojnarowski suggested the first building block for the Butler trade would start with either the 2017 or 2018 Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick, which the Celtics acquired in 2013 in the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.

"And Jimmy Butler in Boston, paired with Isaiah Thomas and this Celtics team -- it would put this Celtics team in a position to seriously challenge Cleveland [Cavaliers] in the east, not only in the short term, but also in the long term."

Butler's contract extends to 2020, and then Wojnarowski explained Boston could then sign the guard to another long-term deal. In the meantime, he could help Boston surpass a vulnerable-looking Cavaliers team.