By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores foresees a hefty pay raise for center Andre Drummond. Gores spoke with reporters Wednesday at halftime of the team’s game at Madison Square Garden in New York and declared the 21-year-old Drummond worthy of a max contract.
“Andre is a maximum guy,” Gores said, according to the team website. “He’s a maximum guy, and he’s not only a great player, he’s a great person.”
Drummond averaged 13.8 points and 13.5 rebounds this season. If Detroit does not sign him to an extension, he will become a restricted free agent after next season.
With his third year in the NBA concluded, Drummond is now eligible to receive a maximum contract, meaning the Pistons could give him a contract with a first-year salary worth 25 percent of the cap.
Gores said the Pistons would also like to keep their other star big man Greg Monroe, but Gores did not convey much optimism about retaining Monroe, who is now an unrestricted free agent.
“Whatever Greg does, it’s going to be up to him,” Gores said, per the team site. “But he’s a real pro.
“He’s been with us a long time,” Gores continued. “I’ve never seen him do the wrong thing. He always does the right thing, and I hope we can land Greg. And if we don’t, whoever lands him will be a very lucky franchise.”
While the Pistons ended their season on a solid note Wednesday, flushing the sorry Knicks, the team still only won 32 games in its first season under head coach Stan Van Gundy. The team did begin the season by losing 23 of its first 28 games, however, so though the end result was still not impressive, improvement happened.
Van Gundy is one of few coaches in the NBA who holds dual roles in an organization; for the Pistons, he is both head coach and president of basketball operations. Gores communicated Wednesday that he still likes that arrangement.
“I believe in Stan more today than the day I hired him,” Gores told reporters Wednesday. “Stan is his biggest critic. I’m very happy with him as a coach. I’m also very happy with him as president of basketball operations. This season has been four or five different seasons. We had the bad start. I think we’ve done what we need to accomplish this year.”