The Cavaliers and Andre Drummond have shown mutual interest in reaching an extension, but they remain far apart in preliminary discussions, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavs acquired Drummond from the Pistons at the trade deadline to provide insurance in the middle in case they lose Tristan Thompson in free agency. Fedor calls the decision to add Drummond a “trial run” rather than a long-term investment, but management only got to see him in eight games before the lockdown.
Drummond has a $28.7MM player option for next season that he’s almost certain to pick up. Fedor says the Cavaliers are realistic about Drummond’s talent, as well as his limitations, and don’t want to commit to an expensive long-term contract that could prevent the team from improving in other areas. Drummond is asking for a deal that would compensate him for skipping free agency in 2021, when many teams will have cap space available.
The Cavs will likely explore the trade market for Drummond after he officially picks up his option. Sources around the league believe his value will increase around the trade deadline, especially since there would be no financial commitment beyond the upcoming season, Fedor writes. It’s also a chance for Cleveland to get something in return before Drummond hits the open market.
There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:
- Darius Garland was a standout during the Cavaliers’ mini-camp and there’s hope that he’s headed in the right direction after a rocky first season. Fedor notes that Garland looked different in camp and seemed to have his confidence back after shooting just 40.1% as a rookie.
- Cleveland projects to have lots of cap space for 2021, since an expected extension for Collin Sexton won’t hit the cap until 2022, but probably won’t be competitive for the top free agents. Considering the team’s history in free agency and its spot near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Fedor expects the rebuilding to continue through the draft and the development of young talent.
- The Cavaliers already have one opening for an assistant that they didn’t fill when J.B. Bickerstaff was promoted to head coach, and they could have another now that Tyronn Lue has become head coach of the Clippers. Fedor cites belief inside the organization that Dan Geriot might go to L.A. to join Lue’s staff.