AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons tries to make a move around Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first quarter of game four of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Stan Van Gundy is working on a deal to keep his big man in the middle.
The Detroit Pistons were negotiating a five-year maximum contract offer with All-Star center Andre Drummond early Friday morning, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The two sides started negotiating the contract after the market opened Friday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been completed.
Article continues below ...
Drummond is a restricted free agent who can draw a maximum contract worth around $125 million according to NBA salary cap rules. The Pistons would have had the right to match any offer made by another team, but Van Gundy made it clear from the start that the burly center wasn't going anywhere.
Drummond averaged 16.2 points and an NBA-leading 14.8 rebounds for the Pistons last season, giving Van Gundy a powerful force in the paint to slug it out in the rugged Eastern Conference.
His strength, size and throwback game certainly give the Pistons a different dimension in today's small-ball NBA.
He has fast become a cornerstone of what Van Gundy is trying to do in his Detroit rebuilding project.
Put simply, there seemed no way that Van Gundy was going to let Drummond walk.
Drummond's scoring and rebounding averages have risen annually, and he was an All-Star for the first time this past season. The numbers he put up last season were the most robust by a Pistons big man since Bob Lanier in 1972-73.
And it was almost a certainty that Drummond would be rewarded with a massive contract, especially with the salary cap soaring from $70 million this past season to somewhere around $95 million for next season.
The only thing slowing Drummond down is a 35.5 percent free throw rate that causes Van Gundy to bench him late in games when opponents foul him on purpose to put him on the line.
Van Gundy has said he is confident Drummond can make drastic improvements in that area of his game to make him and even bigger force for Detroit.
ESPN first reported the negotiation.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.