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Needing frontcourt help, Drummond a potential trade target for Mavericks

Even before big man Dwight Powell went down for the season, the Mavericks were interested in Detroit center Andre Drummond to strengthen their frontcourt.
Credit: AP
Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) stands on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

DALLAS —

With the Mavericks now looking at life without Dwight Powell, after they lost the starting Power forward/Center for the season on Tuesday night following a torn right Achilles tendon, the question Dallas is now faced with answering is who can come in and provide help in the frontcourt?

Maxi Kleber is expected to take on a bigger role for the time being as an option in the middle but his game is more about perimeter scoring. Recent reports suggested that the team is kicking the tires on 12-year veteran Joakim Noah to help ease the load on the rotation and he would bring a lot of experience and intensity if nothing else.

While there are internal and cheap external options being bandied about, could there be another avenue to explore?

The NBA’s trade deadline is fast approaching, as organizations will have until February 6th to finalize any pending trades. We should know more about the trade market in the upcoming ten days or so when teams make a decision on whether or not to become buyers or sellers depending on if they believe they can make a run and look to bolster their roster in hopes of making noise in the playoffs. 

The Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban are no strangers to making midseason trades. Just a year ago in fact, the Mavs sent Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan to the New York Knicks to bring in Kristaps Porzingis to be Luka Doncic’s running mate. The Mavs now look like they need to put another piece next to Porzingis in the middle of their lineup. 

One such target could be Detroit Pistons’ big man Andre Drummond. 

Drummond has been a name linked to Dallas from even before Powell went down so it stands to reason that they could potentially ramp up their efforts to acquire the Detroit center in the wake of Tuesday’s news. The addition of Drummond would be an instant upgrade in the frontcourt as he currently averages more points and rebounds than Powell was offering. With Powell out, Drummond could step in and push the rotation back down to where they are more comfortable and production. 

Drummond is almost an instant double-double night in and night out. This year, the two-time All-Star is averaging 17.3 points and 15.7 rebounds which is at or near his career highs. A lot of Drummond’s value also comes from his stellar play in the middle on defense but he could become a lethal option for Doncic in the team’s pick-and-roll looks that Powell was so effective at.

The relentless defense is a part of Drummond’s game that has been missing in Dallas since their 2011 title run when they had Tyson Chandler as a rim-protecting center. Drummond, the three-time NBA rebounds leader and 2012 ninth overall selection can be a defensive deterrent in the paint. He brings 2.1 steals and 1.6 blocks per game inside. Drummond also does the little things to upend offenses by being among the league leaders in deflections.

That kind of defense with a player who can still score points and grab rebounds would bode well for a team that is looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16 when they were bounced in the first round after five games. The goal with Doncic on the rise in his sophomore season should be to get beyond the first round for the first time since the 2011 title run. 

Drummond is likely declining his player option for next season making him an unrestricted free agent after this season. Would trading for a player that is basically a half-season rental be worth it? Sure Dallas could sign him to an extension but if he walks then the Mavs would be giving up capital for a short-term gain. 

Given the situation minus Powell, it would be a risky move but one that Donnie Nelson and Cuban need to explore to help raise the Mavs above the fifth seed in the forever-tough Western Conference ahead of the NBA postseason. 

Do you think the Mavericks should push their chips into the middle of the table and trade for Andre Drummond? Share your trade thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.  

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