NBA rumors: Knicks emerging as potential destination for Andre Drummond

More on Andre Drummond Buyout?

Andre Drummond is expected to be bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers if he is not traded by the deadline and the Los Angeles Lakers are considered the favorites to sign him once he clears waivers, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. "The league believes, and I know that's a vague statement, but I'm saying it that way to avoid trapping myself," said Windhorst on his podcast. "The league believes, numerous teams I've talked to believe that Andre Drummond is heading for the Lakers if/when he gets bought out.
“I know they would love to be in the Drummond buyout market,” he said of the Nets. “And the Lakers and certainly some others. The Clippers cleared a roster spot tonight. They could be able to do some things in there. “J.J. Redick could potentially be in there if there’s no trade for him before Thursday. Mo Harkless in Miami. That hasn’t really worked out. That’ll be an interesting one. He can give some depth.”
Before the Cavs decided to bench Drummond until they could trade him, they asked him multiple times to accept playing fewer minutes, with Jarrett Allen on the roster, and even asked him to come off the bench. He refused, and there are teams that otherwise would be interested in considering a trade for him that are aware of such issues. If/when he gets a buyout, as is oft-reported, there will be a number of suitors for him. So his attitude is not a deal-breaker; it’s just a second reason to pause when most teams would also have to consider giving up rotation players just to make a trade for Drummond work
It’s why others around the league remain skeptical of a trade. There’s a growing expectation he will be bought out -- even though the Cavs aren’t asking for much. Given what they gave up for him last year -- two expiring contracts and a future second-round pick -- Cleveland’s front office recognizes the return will be low. There are no delusions of a strong offer before March 25.
One thing in Cleveland’s favor, according to a rival executive, is the belief that only a few teams will have a realistic shot in the buyout market. If the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Heat or Celtics -- all teams linked to Drummond -- truly have interest, how many would beat out Brooklyn or the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency? Any of those five teams could be incentivized to acquire him in a trade as the clock ticks, the one path to guaranteeing his services for the stretch run.
The Wizards are keeping an eye on Cleveland’s Andre Drummond, according to sources, if the Cavaliers were to buy out the two-time All-Star. They, like most teams, don’t have the salaries to trade for someone like Drummond, who is owed $28 million this year.
The Lakers and Nets are believed to be Drummond’s top suitors should he receive a contract buyout after the trade deadline, but the Cavaliers are steadfast about finding a trade for the center. The Knicks have also explored the possibility of adding Drummond, and potentially offering him a multiyear deal as a free agent via buyout, sources said.
The buyout market is probably the Lakers’ best bet. I think they could be the No. 1 destination for a player at one of the aforementioned positions. Potential targets would likely include Andre Drummond, P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza and JaVale McGee (he’d have to be traded to another team and then waived to be eligible to re-sign). I think a trade is possible but unrealistic. The most likely avenue is a free-agency upgrade.
Marc Stein: There is optimism within the Lakers that they will get strong consideration from Andre Drummond if Drummond ultimately leaves the Cavaliers via buyout, league sources say. Cleveland’s preference, of course, remains trading Drummond elsewhere before the March 25 trade deadline.
League sources say they have interest in free agent DeMarcus Cousins, but Drummond is their preference if he gets bought out. Drummond has been benched while the Cavaliers seek a trade, but there’s doubt around the league that they’ll be able to find one due to his massive $28.8 million salary.
Rival scouts and executives believe the Lakers are looking for upgrades in their frontcourt. Obviously, Cleveland’s Andre Drummond would be high on their wish list if bought out. Rival executives have wondered if the Lakers could either try to add Sacramento’s Hassan Whiteside or maybe even reunite with JaVale McGee if the former Laker gets bought out and becomes a free agent.
I think the most likely outcome here is that Brooklyn ends up getting Drummond on the buyout market. That was the popular consensus of the executives I talked to from a logical perspective (not necessarily from an inside info perspective). He fills a real need for the Nets as a center who can actually move his feet and provide size at the same time. He’d be an actual defensive upgrade with the minutes Jordan is currently providing, while also providing some real perimeter versatility in dribble handoffs due to his dexterity with the ball. If you can limit the role, and if he can focus for a few months, Drummond can be useful for the Nets.
Chris Fedor: #Cavs and Andre Drummond haven’t had any buyout discussions at this point, league sources tell @clevelanddotcom. There is a commitment on both sides to find the best trade partner. But as I’ve been saying and writing, it won’t be easy because of his high salary number.
While Toronto has expressed trade interest, several other teams, such as Brooklyn and Dallas, would have interest in Drummond via buyout, sources said. The Cavaliers have been in the postseason hunt in the Eastern Conference, so it is unclear how open the franchise would be toward a buyout after the trade deadline should the team be in the playoff hunt, but the franchise has certainly acknowledged Drummond’s likely desire to be on a contending team. A buyout is clearly not the preference.
The final two executives polled felt Drummond would get a buyout after the deadline. However, the Cavaliers are not interested in a buyout for Drummond, a league source told HoopsHype.
Drummond is the most intriguing player on this list outside of maybe Derrick Rose. A couple of league sources mentioned after the Harden trade to Brooklyn that it’s a matter of time before he finds his way into a buyout and joins up to give them help with the interior. Drummond is a difficult player to figure out because of how he wants to fit. He’s obviously better than the Kendrick Perkins option the Thunder once had, but Drummond does require you to waste possessions throughout a game throwing it to him in the post. If you can get Drummond to run the floor, catch lobs, set screens, rebound the hell out of the ball and play defense, he’s a great option for someone like the Nets.
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on a podcast with Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, that the Nets have their eyes on Drummond who’s playing on an expiring $28.7 million contract. ”People around the league say the Nets are hoping that Andre Drummond, the Cavs center, gets bought out. That’s what people say they’re hoping for but that’s unlikely because Cleveland is still in it,” referring to the playoff hunt.
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