The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Andre Drummond at the trade deadline last season for essentially nothing. At the time, the thinking was that it was a low-cost maneuver that could either pay dividends down the line or simply be forgotten.
So far, Drummond has signaled that he intends to pick up his $28.8 million player option to remain with the Cavaliers. But what happens after that? Initially there was optimism that the two sides could reach a long-term extension deal, but that confidence is slowly fading.
According to Evan Dammarell of Forbes, as the two sides drift further and further apart on prospective extension talks, a trade of some sort becomes increasingly more likely. “If things don’t get better it becomes even easier to flip Drummond and his mammoth expiring contract to another team to recoup assets to assist in their rebuild,” he wrote.
“Teams like the Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers all make sense as trade destinations for Drummond and according to sources, the Celtics are monitoring the situation.”
This past year Drummond averaged 17.7 points,15.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per outing, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 51.3 percent from the free throw line. Those figures are roughly in line with where they have been over the past two to three years.
The big question about Drummond, and the one thing standing in the way of his desired pay day, is how his style fits with the modern day NBA. “It makes sense why Drummond is trying to add so much to his game given the current state of the NBA,” one scout told Dammarell. “But, he’s also trying to do it eight years in. The league has him figured out and it feels like it’s a case of too little, too late.”
Drummond, for his part, disagrees with that assessment. He believes that the classic center is making a comeback in the league, and that his style of play fits perfectly with where things are going.
“In terms of the big man position dying, I don’t think that’s a real thing. I think it’s more of just, you know, people not knowing basketball or paying attention to what is going on,” he said. “The big man is coming back. You look at the perennial bigs, we’ve got (Nikola) Jokic, Joel Embiid, myself, (Kristaps) Porzingis, (Jusuf) Nurkic, go down the list of bigs that are playing really, really well or holding their own at the position. The do-a-little-of-everything style is the new evolution of the big man on the court.”
Championship coaches do championship things. https://t.co/Rt7179e8TK
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 22, 2020
All that being said, Drummond is still working on modifying his game and improving various facets of it. “I’m working on it as we speak,” he said. “I think when we come back people will be really surprised at what I’m working on. So, just continue to become a better player, better teammate and help my team get into a winning situation.” When pressed on what specifically he is doing, Drummond played it coy.
Yikes. The beef is real. https://t.co/jYnL8dCPQf
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 21, 2020
“I’m not one of the guys that boasts and brags about my game,” he said. “I just let it speak for itself. It’s pretty much the same thing I’ve been doing lately — ball-handling, shooting the 3 and being more consistent with that. [Also] finishing around the rim, being able to make the right plays, being able to pass the ball when I get cut off or double-teamed, pass it to the corner or the wing, working on my IQ, keeping my head up when I dribble and all the other essential things that need to be done as a big man now to stay on the court.”
One way or another, Drummond is going to get paid next year. What happens beyond that remains to be seen, though.