NBA Rumor: Andre Drummond Free Agency

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The Miami Heat reportedly could be interested in bringing in free agent center Andre Drummond to play alongside Bam Adebayo. Drummond, who last played for the Los Angeles Lakers, was listed as a potential target by Heat insider Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “Drummond is an option if Spoelstra is willing to change his approach and play him with Adebayo,” Jackson wrote. “The Heat had some interest before he signed with the Lakers and another pursuit wouldn’t surprise me.”

Andre Drummond part of Lakers' future?

While it was essentially pegged as a one-year rental before Drummond hits the free-agent market in the summer, it appears that the Lakers could have bigger plans for Drummond, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “…obviously he gets more than just ceremonial minutes. That seems to be something that is important to Drummond, which makes it important to the Lakers’ front office because they have signaled to everyone listening, ‘This isn’t just a half a season buyout market rental. Andre Drummond is part of the future moving forward with this franchise,” McMenamin said on The Lowe Post.

Andre Drummond the Celtics' top target on the buyout market?

A busy NBA buyout market is upon us on the heels of a very active trade deadline across the league Thursday. The Boston Celtics currently have no open roster spots available after acquiring three new players but that could change quickly in the coming days. According to multiple league sources, the Celtics are expected to be active in the buyout market for a big with Andre Drummond looming as their top target.

Nevertheless, the Celtics might not be done tinkering with their roster after acquiring Fournier, Wizards forward Moe Wagner, and Bulls forward Luke Kornet. According to a league source, the Celtics intend to pursue Cavaliers center Andre Drummond once his buyout agreement is finalized. Boston is not expected to inquire about Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who is reportedly likely to sign with the Heat or the Blazers after being bought out.

Nets hoping for Andre Drummond buyout?

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.

Andre Drummond a goner in Cleveland?

Multiple Eastern Conference executives believe the writing is on the wall for Drummond’s future in Cleveland after the team gave up a first-round pick to acquire Allen, who is five years younger. Drummond will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. “Drummond is definitely out of Cleveland,” one Eastern Conference executive predicted. “Cleveland wouldn’t give up a first if they didn’t want Allen long-term.”

While the salary cap and luxury tax need to be cleared up, Andre Drummond controls the team’s offseason with his $28.7 million player option. Not even Bickerstaff knows what Drummond wants to do. “I have not asked him, ‘Hey man, are you opting in or opting out?’ But the conversations we’ve had have been positive,” Bickerstaff told cleveland.com. “Indirectly those conversations have been about the future, what next year is going to look like, how he wants to be part of the team and how we can use him effectively and all those things.

Everyone on the roster is scattered across the country, so is there someone that you’ve stayed in closest contact with during this offseason? Andre Drummond: “Yeah. Definitely Darius Garland for sure is someone I have spent a lot of time with over these months. Larry, Kevin and I’ve seen Collin a few times. Kevin Porter has come down to work with me. Earlier in like June, he came and stayed with me for a week to work out. Other than that, I’ve talked to everyone fairly often. We’re all on a group chat and we all check in on each other.” Well, you brought it up, saying you want to help Porter take his game to the next level. That would require you being with the Cavs. Does that mean you’ve made the decision to pick up your option already? Andre Drummond: “As of right now I’m just focusing on what I can worry about. Working on my game. Right now, just worrying about what’s happening with the next couple of months, before the season. Whenever it’s time to start, and when that time does come to make that decision, everybody will know. Right now, I’m a Cleveland Cavalier. In terms of extending, we will find that out when the time comes around.”

And despite saying back in June that he planned to stay in Cleveland, Drummond is now hedging. “I’m at a point now in my career where I spent the last eight years in Detroit, and I’m looking forward to the new start. If it’s with the Cavs, fantastic,” Drummond told Cleveland.com. “If” is a strong word in this instance, and a well-informed league source told BasketballNews.com that Drummond is genuinely undecided about exercising his player option.

You brought it up, saying you want to help Porter take his game to the next level. That would require you being with the Cavs. Does that mean you’ve made the decision to pick up your option already? Andre Drummond: “As of right now I’m just focusing on what I can worry about. Working on my game. Right now, just worrying about what’s happening with the next couple of months, before the season, whenever it’s time to start, and when that time does come to make that decision everybody will know. Right now, I’m a Cleveland Cavalier. In terms of extending, we will find that out when the time comes around.”

Cavs, Andre Drummond 'far apart' in extension talks

Hey, Chris: Are the Cavs going to try to trade Andre Drummond? — Mike, Greenville, S. Carolina. Chris Fedor: Trading Drummond is a possibility — if he picks up his player option, which is all but certain. By rule, they could start shopping him immediately after, seeing whether the interest increases since he would be on an expiring contract. But trading Drummond isn’t the only option.

The real question is what happens after. At one point, there was mutual interest in an extension. However, the sides have been far apart in those preliminary discussions, sources say. The Cavs recognize Drummond’s talent but they are also honest about his flaws, especially in this pace-and-space era, where bigs like him are easy to attain. They don’t want to commit to an unfriendly deal that could limit future moves, not after an eight-game sample size. Drummond, meanwhile, wants to be compensated for bypassing a chance at 2021 free agency, when many teams will have significant cap space. Given the differing, current monetary views, an extension seems unlikely.

First is the team’s salary cap situation. When asked about that Friday morning, Altman couldn’t provide any clarity. Drummond’s $28.7 million player option determines how much space the Cavs will have this offseason. Altman admitted he “doesn’t know” what Drummond will decide. Even though Drummond isn’t with the team this week and won’t be joining them at all for this bubble, he’s stayed engaged. Drummond and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff have been in contact. Drummond has been part of team Zoom calls.

Andre Drummond likely to opt in

Another way Altman and Co. can help Bickerstaff is through free agency. Much of their plan is hinges on Andre Drummond and whether he’ll opt out. According to the team source, all signs suggest that Drummond “probably will” exercise his $28,751,774 player option. Drummond said as much during an appearance on ESPN’s Le Batard & Friends Network podcast. “Yeah, that’s going to be pretty hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said in June. Later in the interview, he added: “I definitely will be in Cleveland.”
1 year ago via ESPN

Andre Drummond opting in

Two-time All-Star Andre Drummond says he plans to pick up his player option that will keep him in Cleveland for another year. Drummond, who was traded to the Cavaliers by the Detroit Pistons in February, has a $28.75 million option for the 2020-21 season. He said on Tuesday’s episode of ESPN’s Le Batard & Friends — STUpodity podcast that he “definitely” will be in Cleveland next season. “Yeah, it’s going to be hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said when pressed on whether he plans to exercise his option. “I definitely will be in Cleveland.”

While Drummond is likely to exercise his $28.7 million player option, the pandemic has led to a loss of revenue, which will likely impact future salary caps. When Drummond makes the choice to stay, the Cavs’ path to external improvement will be blocked. They could also consider a Drummond contract extension, although that seems unlikely given how short his stint has been. There are other decisions ahead — on free agents Ante Zizic, Dellavedova and Thompson as well as the always-lingering possibility of trading Love. The Cavs will have months to figure out their plans while 22 other teams are in Disney.

The thing is, the reality of Cleveland’s situation may prevent that from happening. Right now, Love, Drummond and Larry Nance Jr., all staples for the Cavaliers’ big man rotation account for roughly 52% of the team’s payroll at $68.7 million. Next season, Nance will be here under contract and the team will likely have both Love and Drummond here as well, per league sources. Drummond plans on opting into his $28.7 million player option and Love will be hard to move with the NBA salary cap expected to go down due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, all three aforementioned players will combine for $78.1 million total next year.

The thing is, the reality of Cleveland’s situation may prevent that from happening. Right now, Love, Drummond and Larry Nance Jr., all staples for the Cavaliers’ big man rotation account for roughly 52% of the team’s payroll at $68.7 million. Next season, Nance will be here under contract and the team will likely have both Love and Drummond here as well, per league sources. Drummond plans on opting into his $28.7 million player option and Love will be hard to move with the NBA salary cap expected to go down due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, all three aforementioned players will combine for $78.1 million total next year.

According to multiple sources, Drummond picking up his option remains most likely. It’s also most logical. Just look at what the Pistons received at the deadline. It was a salary dump, Detroit wanting to clean up the books and avoid paying him north of $28 million for 20-21. That’s a perfect portrait of his declining value. In this pace-and-space era, with shooting and perimeter skill so vital, some centers are still worth that bulky price tag. Drummond isn’t one of them.

Andre Drummond ($28.6 million) is soon facing a very harsh and frustrating reality. In the past few offseasons, centers have been getting smaller and smaller guaranteed deals. In 2018, a considerably low cap-space offseason, we saw non-stretch centers Clint Capela and Jusuf Nurkic earn $16 million and $12 million annually, respectively. Charlotte and New York are the only two teams with significant cap space who make some sense for Drummond, but it’s hard to see either team shelling most of their cap space just to him. If Drummond were to opt-out and test the market, he might end up getting offered similar figures as Capela and Nurkic did. That is a steep paycut overnight, and because he was traded in February he is not extension eligible for the rest of the season. If he were to opt-out, it probably won’t be without assurances of a lucrative deal via a cap space team or a sign-and-trade. Otherwise, expect him to opt-in.

Andre Drummond to be traded again?

There’s some belief around the league that the Cavaliers could look to flip Drummond as early as this summer. “I don’t think [Drummond and the Cavs] will last long,” one former NBA general manager said. “I could see them trading him to a team this summer if he agrees to pick up his option. They could also do a sign-and-trade if he agrees to a new long-term deal. I don’t think he’ll be in Cleveland for long.”

Altman admitted he and Drummond hadn’t talked about what he would do with his option before the trade, but he was fine sacrificing the Cavaliers’ upcoming salary-cap space for him. “Absolutely, we consider him a potential long-term play,” Altman said. “Obviously, he has a player option that if he picks up, we think we’re in good shape in terms of our cap space. There’s no better money spent than on Andre Drummond if he picks up his option.”

The Pistons were worried about Drummond possibly picking up his $28.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season, keeping the Pistons from having any financial flexibility. Altman said there haven’t been discussions yet about what Drummond will do on that front. That’s for another day. Their chat after the deal was done centered more on how Drummond felt about the trade, his fit in Cleveland, when he was expected to arrive, all the usual stuff.

The Pistons continue to be ready to move off of Andre Drummond, as Detroit begins (another) rebuild. Interest in Drummond, as you might imagine, has been downright cool. His $27 million salary is a problem, as is a growing feeling that Drummond could opt into a nearly $29 million salary next season. As strong a rebounder as Drummond is—and Detroit’s guards make him look infinitely worse on the perimeter than he can be—there are concerns among some executives about his passion for the game. That’s unnerving. Reggie Jackson can be had if a team is willing to surrender an asset for an injury plagued player in the final year of his contract.

No max for Andre Drummond?

There is a scenario in which Detroit could trade its franchise center this season. Again, it’ll depend on where the Pistons are in the playoff race by the time the deadline inches closer. There also is a scenario in which the Pistons could let him walk in free agency. And, of course, depending on if the Pistons can turn it around, he could return next year on a new contract. One source said Drummond likely will sign a new contract that averages somewhere between $20 million and $25 million annually, not the max.

Hornets to pursue Andre Drummond?

The Hornets are remaking the roster and they’ve gotten themselves pretty well stocked with young guards and wings in the process, plus Washington. But there’s still a glaring hole in the middle and as the Hornets are primed to finally be rid of some of the albatross contracts that have weighed the franchise since its last playoff appearance (in 2016). At long last, they are in position to fill that void. The target, according to league sources: Pistons big man Andre Drummond, a player in whom the Hornets have had an interest for at least a year.

It could be time for the Hornets to do something the franchise does not typically do: get aggressive. “He’ll be a priority there,” one league executive told Heavy.com. “It’s just a matter of whether they make him a priority now and give up something to get him or try to make the move later. It’s a very cautious group, Mitch Kupchak and those guys. But they might want to get this guy into the fold sooner rather than later, there’s just a lot of incentive there on both sides.”
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