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RUMOR: Knicks won’t pursue Pistons’ Andre Drummond, will try during free agency instead

Knicks-Andre-Drummond

The New York Knicks won’t chase down a trade for Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, but will try their luck in free agency instead. The Mount Vernon native is heavily expected to opt-out of his contract this summer, which has made more teams unwilling to give up the first-round compensation the Pistons seek in exchange.

The Knicks are reportedly not interested in a trade despite the Pistons approaching them about a deal, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

The Atlanta Hawks, who were the frontrunners for his services early on, also pulled out of the sweepstakes after completing a trade on Thursday, sending shooting guard Allen Crabbe to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham.

Yet the Knicks would be silly not to gauge Andre Drummond’s interest in free agency, even if they have a 7-foot-1 big man of their own in second-year center Mitchell Robinson.

Drummond is an excellent rebounder, an elite one of his generation, grabbing a hair short of 16 boards per game and having won the rebounding title in three of the last four seasons — now in his way for a third straight rebounding award and his fourth overall.

Drummond will be looking for major money in the summer, presumably more than the $28.8 million player option he’s turning down to become a free agent. While he just might get his wish in a relatively dry free-agent market with not a lot of options, an argument could be made that not many big men can make that type of salary, especially without the accolades to prove it.

The New York native is a two-time All-Star and made the All-NBA Third Team in 2016, but hasn’t been a reliable defensive presence in years, and his offense is good, but not great — something that will give teams, including the Knicks, plenty of hesitation.