Basketball

Andre Drummond’s Value and a Surprise Trade Proposal

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It’s no secret, the Cavaliers have a bevy of big men on their roster after the acquisition of Jarrett Allen. Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, JaVale McGee, Larry Nance Jr., Marques Bolden, Dean Wade, and the newly acquired Allen; 7 guys in total who are 6’8 or taller. It begs the question – what is Andre Drummond’s value and what is the Cavaliers plan for him this season?

The Cavs recently traded a first-round pick to get Allen, and intend to lock him up for the long term to partner with their young trio; Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro. As the saying goes, the NBA is a young man’s league and Drummond’s new teammate who also plays his position is only 22.

Fast Start

The Cavaliers are off to a surprise 7-7 start, after coming into the 2020-2021 season with the lowest expected win total in the Eastern Conference, per Vegas Insider. Cleveland’s success can be tied to their defense, as they currently rank third in defensive efficiency vs. dead last in the NBA last season. Along with Nance Jr., Drummond has been the cog behind the Cavaliers massive defensive improvement as he’s averaging 15.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. While he should get a lot of credit for how competitive the Cavaliers have been this season, there are financial realities and offensive limitations that GM Koby Altman needs to consider as he aligns on what Andre Drummond’s value is across the NBA.

Contract Situation

While the defensive numbers are great, there is no getting around that Drummond is in the last year of his contract which is paying him $28.7 million this season. He’s likely looking for around that type of money on a new deal, and the Cavaliers are reportedly not close to that number. He’s also had a tough year offensively, shooting 47% from the floor (which would be a career low), 56% from the free throw line, and isn’t without his share of questionable possessions:

So where does that leave the Cavaliers and Drummond? I think there is a gap between player and team on what Andre Drummond’s value is and why a trade should be in the cards if the Cavaliers don’t want to lose him for nothing at the end of this season.

Trade Idea: Andre Drummond to the Bulls

Bulls Get: C – Andre Drummond (1 year – $28.7M) & SF – Kevin Porter Jr. (3 years – $1.7M)

Cavaliers Get: SF – Otto Porter (1 year – $28.5M), 2022 2nd Round Pick

Chicago’s Why: The Bulls get an interior enforcer in Drummond who immediately becomes their best shot blocker. They get over half of a season to evaluate if he makes sense to sign with their young core of guards; Zach LaVine & Coby White. In Porter Jr., they take a gamble on a high ceiling prospect who has had issues getting on the court but proved in his rookie season he has the potential to be a serious scorer in the league.

Cleveland’s Why: It provides their front office another draft asset, keeps cap space flexibility, and allows their center of the future, Jarrett Allen, a chance to shine with starters minutes. Allen already got significant playing time down the stretch over Drummond in his first game vs. the Nets, so it may behoove of Cleveland to avoid that potential locker room distraction in dealing Drummond now. It must also be noted that back-up center JaVale McGee has played excellent behind Drummond this season and could reprise that role behind Allen.

Andre Drummond’s value is one of the more difficult to identify in the league. He’s an old school big man with elite rebounding & rim protection, but an offensive game that will make you shudder at times with no shooting. Time will tell what the Cavaliers and Drummond do, but I wouldn’t count on him being back next season.

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