Andre Drummond’s time in Cleveland appears to be coming to an abrupt end with the news that the two-time NBA All-Star will no longer play for the Cavaliers as they seek to move him before the March 25 trade deadline.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the franchise has decided not to play the center as the team transitions to Jarrett Allen becoming their long-term starting five.
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman discussed the move with Drummond and his agent, deciding that he would remain with the team but without seeing the floor during games.
Drummond was inactive for the Cavs’ defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night, with the official line being that the player was rested. However, it has since become apparent that wasn’t actually the case with Cleveland now opening trade talks across the league.
Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported the interest of the Toronto Raptors, who have long been searching for more frontcourt depth since the departures of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in the off-season, to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers respectively.
Drummond is averaging 18 points, 14 rebounds and three assists for the season, extremely solid numbers for a starting center. He’s in his prime at 27 and will bring any contender size, experience and historically elite rebounding at the five position.
Whilst he isn’t the best one on one defender, he’s certainly a deterrent beneath the basket and does impact opponent field goal percentage there due to his sheer size, even if he isn’t a true rim protector in the Rudy Gobert and Myles Turner mould.
The sticking point for any prospective deal comes in the form of the player’s mammoth contract – $28,751,774 for the 20/21 season. Matching salaries will be difficult for most teams interested in Drummond, including the Raptors, and the player’s best hope of joining a contender will likely come in the buyout market as he is due to become a free agent in the summer.
There is no indication just yet that the Cavaliers are considering that option. If Drummond were to be bought out, the Nets, Lakers, Mavericks and Blazers have all been touted as potential suitors.