The Andre Drummond experiment certainly did not last long in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have decided that they will no longer be playing the veteran center as they attempt to deal the two-time All-Star before the league’s March 25th trade deadline, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst.
A buyout that could allow Drummond to become a free agent has not been discussed yet but the Cavaliers front office has already started to gauge the trade market for the big man, and the Toronto Raptors have emerged as a top contender for Drummond’s services, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
With the Cavs now focused on making recent acquisition Jarrett Allen the center of the franchise’s future, the organization believes that it would be disrespectful to play Drummond in limited minutes as they make that transition to Allen, sources said.
Allen has been a welcome addition for the youthful Cavs, putting up 13.2 points, 7.5 boards, and 1.7 blocks per game in 15 contests with the team. A two towers type of lineup with both Drummond and Allen failed miserably, and Allen has recently moved into the starting five. The pending return of Kevin Love will only further crowd Cleveland’s frontcourt.
General manager Koby Altman talked the move over with Drummond and his agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, and the two sides apparently agreed that the player will remain with the team but no longer contribute to the squad on the court, sources said.
“Sometimes you’re forced into difficult positions that are not easy to navigate, but in respect to Dre and all that he’s done and accomplished and as much as he’s helped us, we thought this was the fairest thing to do for him,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said before Cleveland’s Monday night loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Bickerstaff and his coaches have yet to decide whether or not Drummond will stay around his teammates as trade talks ramp up, though that decision should be forthcoming.
The Cavaliers are attempting to make this seem like a nice thing they’ve done for Drummond, but the 27-year-old can’t be pleased to have to sit on the bench for an undetermined amount of time while his future hangs in the balance.
As Draymond Green said in his recent rant, the players need to be treated with more respect, and the double standards that are in place for team and player, both when it comes to league rules and the media, need to be eradicated as soon as possible.
While the team said that Drummond did not suit up for Cleveland’s Sunday loss to the L.A. Clippers because of rest, the seven-footer showed up to the game wearing a shirt with the word ‘Farewell’ emblazoned on it. Drummond did not dress for the team’s Monday loss to the Warriors either.
Drummond’s agent, Schwartz, would not confirm or deny the current situation with the Cavs, instead taking the opportunity to praise his client.
“Whichever direction this goes, Andre is 27, in his prime, and I believe strongly that he has a great deal to add to a team building toward a postseason run,” Schwartz reminded everyone.
Drummond is on a $28.7 million salary that will make any trade tough since the Cavs will need to accept at least $23 million in contracts in return. The Mount Vernon, New York native has been putting up 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in 25 starts this season, making him an attractive option for any team looking to make a run this season.
The center-strapped Raptors, who are a great wager at +5.5 underdogs at -107 NBA odds on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, have emerged as the front runners for Drummond’s services, per Charania.
Drummond would give them a boost in the frontcourt where offseason acquisitions Aron Baynes (5.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game) and Alex Len (cut in January) have fallen short. However, the move would likely stunt the exciting development we’ve seen this season from Toronto’s resident Canuck, Chris Boucher, who has been putting up 13.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in just 23.1 minutes.
Because of the size of Drummond’s contract, other teams would likely have to get involved in this deal to make it work and if a trade Cleveland likes cannot be reached, the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks will likely be right there to snap him up on the buyout market.