NBA Rumors: Analyzing Buzz on Andre Drummond, Free Agents Ahead of Restart

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers' Andre Drummond drives against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The NBA rumor mill has morphed into something unexpected given the league's impending restart and consequent need for a new transaction window.

As such, late June's news has been a mishmash of long-term outlook items like extension possibilities for major names and lesser-known players popping up as candidates to serve rotational roles off the bench ahead of the playoffs.

Here's a look at some of the latest buzz from the mill in the wake of recent news items like Joakim Noah joining the Los Angeles Clippers, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times and Jovan Buha of The Athletic. More dominoes should follow quickly.

                    

Andre Drummond

Paul Beaty/Associated Press

The Andre Drummond saga is quietly one of the NBA's most interesting.

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A move-happy Cleveland Cavaliers team sent Brandon Knight, John Henson and a 2023 second-round draft pick to the Detroit Pistons for Drummond in February, only to get eight games out of the former No. 9 draft pick in 2012 before the league closed its doors.

Drummond has since said he plans to pick up his player option with the Cavaliers, meaning the organization will have to pay him $28.7 million next season.

Yet new rumblings suggest the Cavaliers want to extend the relationship. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, both sides have an interesting in working out a long-term pact, with a catch on the team's side of things: "The Cavs also have to determine whether a commitment to Drummond is even worth it. It's one thing for him to opt in and swallow their cap space in a feeble free-agency summer. But a long-term deal could take away Cleveland's financial flexibility for the foreseeable future."

Easier said than done from the team's perspective when Drummond's brief stint in town had the look of a regression. Compared to his stint in Detroit over 49 games, Drummond regressed in points (17.5), rebounds (11.1) and blocks (1.4) with the Cavaliers.

Sample size is important context, though, and whether the Cavaliers see warning signs in those brief regressions is hard to say. It's clear Drummond—in the middle of his prime at 26—wants to stay, but one of the NBA's biggest rebuilding projects will have to determine whether he's worth the asking price.

                  

Lance Thomas

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Lance Thomas isn't the first name to come to mind during this new transaction window, not with guys like JR Smith and plenty more out there as options.

But Thomas does appear to have more suitors than most.

According to Ian Begley and Alex Smith of SNY, multiple teams have an interest in Thomas, a 32-year-old with plenty of value given the unorthodox nature of the bubble format in Orlando, Florida.

Thomas last popped up with the Brooklyn Nets but didn't play. Prior to that, he spent five seasons with the New York Knicks. He averages 5.2 points and 2.6 rebounds over 18.4 minutes for his career, shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from deep.

If nothing else, teams on the hunt for depth may like his experience and ability to space an offense via the threat of his range.

                    

Justin Anderson  

Nick Wass/Associated Press

On the other end of the experience spectrum before the league restarts is forward Justin Anderson.

Anderson is only 26 and just hit on a third-team All-NBA G League nod. But according to Begley, playoff-minded teams have eyes on him for one reason: defense.

As the NBA playoffs have repeatedly stressed over the years, situational defenders who can key in on an opponent's top option can change the complexion of an entire season. Granted, shoving Anderson into such a realm after participating in just three games during the 2019-20 campaign might be a bit much.

But the former first-round pick has put up a respectable 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds on an average of 13.1 minutes during his career, shooting 41.8 percent from the floor.

If not big-name veterans, savvy teams are prone to gobble up less-heralded players like Anderson, and the fact that multiple teams reportedly have an interest says it all. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Anderson will sign with the Brooklyn Nets.

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