The Cleveland Cavaliers and Andre Drummond have come to a mutual
decision to keep the All-Star center inactive until the team finds
a trade for him, league sources confirmed to BasketballNews.com.
The news was first reported this morning by The Athletic and ESPN.
"Nothing is imminent on the trade front, though," the source
According to the source, a buyout is off the table between the
Cavs and Drummond, as Cleveland searches for a landing spot for the
27-year-old big man prior to the NBA trade deadline on March
Per Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor, the
situation hasn't been easy on the veteran, who's in the prime of
his career. Drummond reportedly didn't want to move on, but the
team envisioned a different future after bringing Jarrett Allen
into the fold.
The Cavs view Allen as one of their cornerstones moving forward
and they are prioritizing his growth and chemistry with his new
teammates. Cleveland is set on Allen as the long-term answer at the
five, so splitting minutes between he and Drummond wasn't going to
benefit either party.
Drummond will still be with the team, and the decision to move
forward in this manner was a mutual agreement. Constructing a trade
will not be easy, as Drummond makes roughly $28.7 million. The
Cavaliers will need to take back at least $23 million in salary in
order to execute a deal.
We also have to remember that the Cavaliers acquired Drummond at
last season's trade deadline for little-used Brandon Knight and
John Henson, plus a future second-round pick. A potential trade
involving Drummond likely won't be focused on the haul back, but
more about opening more minutes for Allen and getting
something in return for the impending free agent.
So as he watches from the sidelines until Cleveland finds him a
new home, let's take a look at potential fits and possible deals
that could work.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Cavaliers have
engaged in trade talks with the Toronto Raptors about Drummond. It
makes sense considering the defensive woes that have plagued the
Raptors, who have begun climbing out of the Eastern Conference
basement and back into the postseason hunt. Drummond's rim
protection and activity on defense this season have been arguably
the best of his career to this point, something that's been missing
for Nick Nurse and his crew.
To match salaries, Toronto would have to include Norman Powell,
Aron Baynes and Patrick McCaw, plus one more player (Matt Thomas,
Terence Davis or Paul Watson could work). With the resurgence of
Stanley Johnson and the role DeAndre' Bembry has carved out, it's
unlikely the Raptors would give them up. Knowing Masai Ujiri and
Bobby Webster, it's possible that the Raptors will try to get a
third team involved, which could help from a salary-matching
We also have to keep in mind that Cleveland would have to get
creative with its roster. By waiving Dean Wade prior to his Feb. 24
guarantee date, it would allow the Cavs to take back three players
for one (Drummond). Fitting a fourth would take some roster
The Mavs were recently mentioned as a possible suitor on
our Keepin' It 94 podcast.
Beyond missing shots (although they're finding a rhythm now),
Dallas' problem is that there's absolutely zero resistance in the
paint for their opponents. Watch how Damian Lillard waltzed right
to the cup in this possession. (It's not pretty).
The Mavs have the contracts to get a trade done, but are they
really willing to give up a starter? James Johnson has an expiring
$15.7 million salary. Include Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Burke
and it almost gets you there, which would probably be very
suitable. Substitute Dorian Finney-Smith, one of the hearts of that
team, for Burke and it does work. Tim Hardaway Jr.
has a sizable salary, but would the Mavs be open to either of those
things? Another option: Cleveland deals Drummond and JaVale McGee
for Johnson and Dwight Powell in a bigs-for-bigs swap? Otherwise,
again, there'd probably have to be a four-player deal. Just
thinking out loud here.
While there's a feasible way for the Nets to trade for Andre
Drummond, it would come at a price. Spencer Dinwiddie, the face of
the one of the most beloved franchise turnarounds we've seen in the
NBA in recent years and an amazing talent, would have to be
included in the deal along with DeAndre Jordan. Let's not forget
that DJ came to town with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at the
latter's request. If you toss in Tyler Johnson with those two, the
framework checks out.
Joe Harris cannot be traded until March 3 because he re-signed
with Brooklyn and got a raise using his Bird Rights, but a
Dinwiddie-and-Harris-for-Drummond trade would work as well when the
time comes -- although, who in the world would give up a 50-percent
three-baller on a team that thrives off drive-and-kicks? They're
better off waiting to see if the Cavs can't find a trade partner
and buy him out post-deadline. If Drummond hits the buyout market,
Brooklyn has to be considered the frontrunner to land him.
Here's an idea that hasn't been mentioned yet. The Kings are in
the hunt for the playoffs in the Western Conference. Yes, Richaun
Holmes has been busting his tail off at the 5 and it shouldn't be
necessary to fix something that's not broken. However, who knows
what Kings general manager Monte McNair is thinking. Is it possible
he wants to strike while the iron's hot?
A potential framework that could get Drummond in a Kings uniform
is simple. There are two guys out of the rotation in Nemanja
Bjelica (who wants out) and Jabari Parker (who hasn't played a game
yet). Throw in Cory Joseph and have Cleveland send back Damyean
Dotson, who's had spotty minutes since the team's primary guards
returned from injury. I don't think this idea is that far-fetched,
but again, Holmes is playing out of his mind this year.
New York Knicks
With $15 million in cap room, the Knicks don't have to match
salaries exactly to acquire Drummond. With Mitchell Robinson out
for the next month or so due to a broken hand, they could try to
strike a deal while still in contention for the postseason.
A package of Nerlens Noel and out-of-rotation reclamation
projects Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox would make a ton of sense
for Cleveland and it would keep New York in the hunt. Before we
talk about Robinson's effectiveness, we know how much Tom Thibodeau
loves his veterans. The Knicks just traded for Derrick Rose and
seem interested in win-now moves. Also, by acquiring him now, the
Knicks would have Drummond's Bird rights, which would make it
easier to re-sign him this offseason if they are interested in him
as more than a rental.
We'll see if Celtics president Danny Ainge has any interest in
Drummond. Boston holds a massive $28.5 million trade exception from
this past offseason's Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade, but here's the
caveat: Drummond's $28,751,774 salary is still too much for the
Celtics to flat-out absorb.
The only chance they'd have at a deal is one that includes
Marcus Smart, which is not going to happen. A
Drummond-for-Kemba-Walker deal would work too, but that also isn't
happening. It has been reported that Boston is looking for upgrades,
but unless a third team gets involved, it'll be very difficult for
the Celtics and Cavs to figure out a trade for Drummond. Perhaps
Boston is an option if he is bought out.
There's a way for Cleveland to get a four-player return for
Drummond and Wade from Charlotte, but it involves the Hornets
dealing Cody Zeller, Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo. Aside from
that, any other deal would require Charlotte to move All-Star
candidate Terry Rozier or PJ Washington and that isn't going to
happen. Unless the Cavs want even more centers in the locker room,
this isn't a great fit (unless they can find a third team).
Oklahoma City Thunder
Sam Presti is a patient man who is trusting his rebuilding
process, so this is nothing more than an idea. But if the Thunder
sent Trevor Ariza, Darius Miller and Mike Muscala to Cleveland,
they could theoretically bring in Drummond.
As you can plainly see, there a number of possibilities when it
comes to trade partners for Cleveland. However, it's going to take
some creativity to get a deal done with Drummond's massive