Andre Drummond Trade Rumors: Knicks Emerge as 'Serious Potential Destination'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond (3) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The New York Knicks have reportedly emerged as a "serious potential destination" for Andre Drummond ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the Knicks' interest in the Cleveland Cavaliers big man. Conventional wisdom had the Cavs reaching a buyout agreement with Drummond after the deadline. Drummond has not been in the lineup for more than a month as Cleveland had seemingly unsuccessful trade talks with other organizations.

The Knicks have around $17 million in available salary-cap space, making their path to adding Drummond via trade clearer than any other NBA team. They still don't have much in terms of obvious matching salary to add up to the $11 million needed to match Drummond's $28 million salary.

A combination of Frank Ntilikina, Nerlens Noel and another contract would get the job done, but it's hard to find the incentive from a Knicks perspective. Drummond would bring offensive production and rebounding to the middle of the offense. That said, his presence would take significant playing time away from Mitchell Robinson, who recently returned from a broken hand.

The 22-year-old is a potential defensive cornerstone in the middle, particularly if he reaches his potential under Tom Thibodeau. Drummond is who he is—an excellent rebounder and dunker who largely delivers empty-calorie numbers in the modern NBA. If the Knicks can get away with trading away players who aren't part of their long-term planning for Drummond, it's a fine enough move to add a veteran for Thibodeau's desired playoff push.

However, it's probably not the most prudent long-term move if the Knicks are committed to Robinson's continued development.