Pistons begin post-Drummond life at Oklahoma City

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Andre Drummond has been one of the faces of the Detroit Pistons since he was drafted by the franchise in 2012.

However, on Friday in Oklahoma City, the Pistons will enter a new reality without Drummond after the veteran center was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers before the NBA’s trade deadline on Thursday.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, the team the Pistons will face Friday night, reportedly attempted to be active in the trade market, too. Yet instead of dealing Danilo Gallinari or any of their other veterans who may have been attractive to contending teams (or shoring up their own surprising team), the Thunder stood pat.

Oklahoma City is 11 games above .500 after three consecutive wins and is securely in the Western Conference playoff picture.

The Thunder reportedly explored a trade that would’ve sent Gallinari, who is in the final year of his contract, to the Miami Heat. That trade fell apart, though.

Gallinari, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were the main pieces brought in by the trades of Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the offseason, and the three have been a big reason why the Thunder are in the mix in the West.

While only Gilgeous-Alexander figures to still be around when Oklahoma City is ready to seriously content again, Paul especially has been valuable in assisting the Thunder’s young core, coach Billy Donovan said recently.

“It would really be a terrible mistake on any young player’s part not to absorb as much information and knowledge as they can from somebody like that,” Donovan said. “I would imagine that those guys, as they get later on in their careers and they’re asked the question, ‘Who’s somebody that impacted you when you were younger?’ I think Chris’ name will probably be the first name that will come out of all those guys’ mouths.”

Without Drummond, the Pistons figure to need to lean even more heavily on veteran point guard Derrick Rose.

Rose recently moved into the starting lineup and is having another strong season after reestablishing himself last season in Minnesota following a string of injury-plagued years.

“I never thought it was over, I never gave up,” Rose said. “I knew if I got my body in order, I still had a chance to play the way I want to play. I always believed in myself, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back.”

But Rose’s status for Friday is up in the air after he missed the past two games with a groin issue.

As for some of Rose’s new teammates, John Henson and Brandon Knight might as well have just stayed in Oklahoma City.

Henson and Knight, who were with Cleveland in a Wednesday road loss to the Thunder, are the players heading to the Pistons in the deal for Drummond. Detroit will also receive a future second-round draft pick, according to multiple media reports.

Henson scored 10 points in 31 minutes on Wednesday, leaving him with season averages of 5.0 points and 3.9 rebounds. Knight, who hasn’t played since Jan. 14, is averaging 4.9 points and 1.9 assists.

Oklahoma City, after the 109-103 victory over the Cavaliers, has won eight of its past nine games.

The Pistons have won two of their past three games but have lost six of eight overall. They are coming off a 116-108 home win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, when Drummond led the way with 31 points and 19 rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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