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Why the New York Knicks should pursue an Andre Drummond trade

Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond is drawing interest from several teams around the NBA landscape. Around Christmas, it was reported that the Atlanta Hawks inquired about his availability, but no deal transpired. Now, with the trade deadline drawing near, other franchises are taking a look at Drummond, including the New York Knicks.

The Knicks have struggled to find a rhythm this season, as their 11-29 overall record can attest. The team could use some help, but would Drummond be the answer?

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic recently reported that New York has asked Detroit about Drummond. The Knicks have several first-round picks at their disposal, but the team is in no rush to offload them, according to reports. The Pistons are said to be looking for one or two first-round picks in a deal for Drummond, but interested suitors have not been willing to give up that much in return.

“One team, I’m told, that has made an inquiry (on Drummond) are the Knicks,” Charania said.

“And the Knicks have seven draft picks over the next two years, including three first-rounders. They’re in no rush to get off any of those draft picks, including those first-round picks. That’s why there hasn’t been any traction or any imminency to those conversations.”

If the Knicks can find a way, they should indeed pursue a deal for Drummond, who is recognized as one of the best bigs in today’s game.

An omnipresent force in the paint, Drummond is at or near the top of several statistical categories, including those that matter most for post players in the NBA. He ranks first in rebounds at 15.9 per game and 3rd in steals (1.9). He’s also 10th in blocked shots.

Drummond, who has said that he wouldn’t mind staying in Detroit, will become a free agent this summer — if he declines his player option for 2020-21. If the Knicks are intent on keeping their picks instead of dealing them, they could wait to make a run for Drummond.

As great as Drummond is in the post, the Knicks could use some help with perimeter shooting. In fact, New York is near the bottom of the barrel this season with regards to shooting percentage. Drummond wouldn’t help much in that area, but he would certainly improve the team’s presence in the paint.

Another factor the Knicks would need to take into account is the rise of Mitchell Robinson. The 21-year-old center has made 36 appearances with New York this season, racking up averages of 9.9 points on 71.6 percent shooting from the field, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 22.5 minutes per outing.

Would the Knicks rather have Drummond, a proven veteran who could help in a variety of ways? Or would the team prefer to retain Robinson, a developing young player whose salary will top out at $1.8 million if his 2021-22 option is picked up?

The Pistons will be interested in first-round picks or talented young players in return for Drummond, as Charania reported. Robinson fits this bill, as does RJ Barrett, New York’s No. 3 overall pick in 2019. Barrett, however, is believed to be “untouchable.”

For now, we’ll have to wait to see if the Knicks find a way to acquire Drummond.