Trade Packages and Landing Spots for Cavaliers Center Andre Drummond
After a strong start to the season, Drummond's future in Cleveland all but came to an end when the Cavaliers traded for 22-year-old center Jarrett Allen in mid-January.
"It hasn't been easy for him to go through this," a source close to Drummond told Fedor. "He's disappointed because he wasn't looking to move on."
Drummond was a key piece to fueling the Cavaliers' strong start to the season, averaging 19.3 points, 15.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game before Allen made his debut. Since Allen joined the team, the Cavs have gone just 5-11, including seven straight losses (six by 17 points or more). Drummond's production has taken a hit since Allen's debut as well, dropping to 15.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.8 blocks in 25.8 minutes per game
The Cavs haven't spoken to Drummond about a buyout, according to Fedor. Both sides are working to "find the best trade partner."
Although Drummond is a two-time All-Star and four-time rebounding champion, the Cavaliers shouldn't expect much for him. They acquired him for a pair of expiring contracts and a 2023 second-round pick last year, and it'll be difficult for other teams to cobble together enough salary to match his $28.8 million expiring contract.
Drummond can still be an important piece to a championship team if he's willing to sacrifice his own shots, be a willing passer and focus on his defense and glass-cleaning skills. The following five teams would be particularly appealing landing spots.
Charlotte Hornets Receive: C Andre Drummond
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: SG Malik Monk, C Cody Zeller, C Bismack Biyombo
The Charlotte Hornets have been one of the league's most pleasant surprises this season, and adding a walking double-double at center would make them a near playoff lock.
While Zeller and Biyombo have done an admirable job for the Hornets, both will be free agents this offseason and haven't done enough to warrant a new long-term deal. Drummond would give Charlotte a higher ceiling and should be a good fit next to second-year power forward P.J. Washington.
Monk has started to find his groove over the past few weeks, but he's still the fourth guard on this team. The Hornets may not want to give him a new deal this offseason, as they already have $17.9 million devoted to Terry Rozier next season, and Devonte' Graham is becoming a free agent as well.
Cleveland could keep one of Zeller or Biyombo as a backup to Jarrett Allen or negotiate buyouts with both. Monk has played the best basketball of his career lately (14.7 points while shooting 50.9 percent from three over his last nine games), and he could grow into a part of the Cavaliers rotation moving forward.
Dallas Mavericks Receive: C Andre Drummond
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: C Dwight Powell, PF James Johnson, 2021 and 2022 second-round picks
The Dallas Mavericks could look at Drummond both as a win-now piece and a way to clear salary-cap space for the 2021 offseason.
Dallas ranks 27th in total rebound percentage this season (48.0 percent), as it chose the quantity-over-quality approach when it comes to filling the center position. Since Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup in mid-January, the Mavs have been even worse (29th overall, 47.5 percent).
Drummond could impose his will on the boards and would provide Luka Doncic with a reliable lob target. He also fits alongside Porzingis, whose offensive game is more perimeter-based.
Getting off Powell's contract would be important as well.
The 29-year-old has two years and $22.2 million remaining on his contract after this season and hasn't looked the same while returning from an Achilles injury. Dallas would clear $11.1 million in cap space next season with this trade, which it could spend on Victor Oladipo, Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry or use to re-sign Drummond if the partnership works out.
For Cleveland, Johnson would be a likely buyout candidate, while Powell would become the backup to Jarrett Allen. While the Cavs would lose out on some cap space next year, they'd collect a pair of second-round picks.
New York Knicks
New York Knicks Receive: C Andre Drummond, 2021 second-round pick (via Dallas Mavericks)
Dallas Mavericks Receive: SG Alec Burks, G Frank Ntilikina, G/F Reggie Bullock
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: F Kevin Knox II, PF James Johnson, 2024 second-round pick (via Dallas Mavericks)
To keep pace in the East, the Knicks likely need another big man now that Mitchell Robinson is set to miss the next 4-6 weeks following surgery to fix a fractured right hand. They're clearly gunning for the playoffs despite fielding a mostly young roster, as evidenced by their recent trade for Derrick Rose.
In this deal, the Knicks would get Drummond to slide in as their starting center and collect a second-round pick. They're grabbing 53.6 percent of all rebounds with Robinson on the court this season, compared to only 48.3 percent when he sits. The Knicks rank eighth in rebound percentage this season (51.5 percent), so Drummond could help them stay afloat without Robinson, but they wouldn't have to commit to him beyond this year.
Dallas is in desperate need of shooting (35.0 percent from three as a team, 25th overall), which Burks (42.5 percent) and Bullock (38.5 percent) could help address. While Ntilikina's playing time has been slashed because of the plethora of guards in New York, the 22-year-old could at least serve as a defensive specialist next to Luka Doncic in the Mavericks backcourt.
Cleveland would probably buy out Johnson or immediately try to reroute him, as he's on an expiring $16 million deal. Getting Knox is the priority. The 21-year-old has improved as a three-point shooter—he's drilling a career-high 38.5 percent of his attempts this year—but he has been unable to lock in a regular role in the Knicks rotation.
The Cavs would take a gamble on Knox's upside while also receiving a future second from Dallas.
San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs Receive: C Andre Drummond
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge, 2021 second-round pick
While the Spurs typically don't make midseason trades, it'd be worth breaking tradition to flip a 35-year-old Aldridge for a 27-year-old Drummond.
Aldridge is currently sidelined with a hip injury, and he's taken a big step back this season, averaging a career-low 4.3 rebounds per game. Drummond would serve as a center of gravity for the Spurs' young guards and wings, providing extra shot opportunities while giving them a lob-catcher at the rim.
Aldridge, 35, doesn't make sense as a long-term piece in Cleveland. The Cavs would likely look to flip him to a contender or eventually agree to a buyout. But Cleveland would save a prorated $4.8 million in salary while picking up a second-round pick in this year's draft.
If the Cavs could flip Aldridge for anything more, that would be an added bonus. If not, Cleveland would still retain its cap space for 2021.
Toronto Raptors Receive: C Andre Drummond
Denver Nuggets Receive: SG Norman Powell, C Aron Baynes, SF Stanley Johnson, SG Patrick McCaw
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: SG Gary Harris, 2021 first-round pick (lottery protected, via Denver Nuggets)
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday that the Cavs and Raptors are engaged in active talks involving Drummond.
Drummond would be a substantial upgrade over Baynes in the starting lineup and could form a terrific center combo with current backup Chris Boucher. While Toronto has clawed its way back to eighth place in the East, its 12-15 record has been a disappointment considering it finished second in the East last year.
The Raptors are 21st in total rebound percentage this season (48.7 percent), which Drummond could immediately solidify. Toronto would keep its core intact (Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam) while adding an All-Star talent in Drummond.
Denver isn't getting the production it needs from Harris, so flipping him for four potential rotation pieces while getting off his $20.9 million salary for next season is a no-brainer.
Powell is good enough to start for the Nuggets immediately, as the 27-year-old is averaging 16.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and shooting 43.0 percent from three this season. Baynes would give the Nuggets a defensive-minded center behind Nikola Jokic, and Johnson is a 6'6" wing who can guard multiple positions. McCaw has missed the entire season with a knee injury, but he's on an expiring $4 million deal.
Cleveland would lose out on $20.9 million in cap space next season by taking on Harris, but the 26-year-old may experience a resurgence in a new situation. He's still a talented wing defender, and the Cavs are last in the league in defensive efficiency since the start of February.
The Cavs would get a first-rounder in the 2021 draft while hoping Harris becomes a rotation piece.