Central Notes: Drummond, Love, Merrill, LaVine

With veteran Cavaliers center Andre Drummond now benched for the express purpose of being preserved for a trade, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic examines his possible on-court value and most likely trade or buyout destinations.

“If [you] had a bad center situation, I understand going after him,” a rival executive opined. “But I wouldn’t give up anything real [in a trade].” The Raptors are cited as being able to theoretically construct a workable deal for Drummond. Clubs like the Nets, Clippers, Lakers, Trail Blazers, Mavericks and Rockets could be open to adding Drummond if he’s bought out of his $28.7MM contract.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love practiced with Cleveland on Wednesday, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). Russo tweets that Love did not practice with the club on Saturday, though head coach J.B. Bickerstaff would not officially term his absence a setback. “I’ll let our medical staff handle that,” Bickerstaff said. Love has appeared in just two games for Cleveland thus far this season.
  • Rookie Bucks guard Sam Merrill has been recalled from a stint with the Memphis Hustle in the G League bubble, the team announced Friday. Merrill is averaging 6.1 MPG across nine games for Milwaukee.
  • Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine appears to be cementing his case for his first All-Star berth with efficient scoring on a near-.500 Chicago squad that is currently the No. 9 seed in the East. LaVine’s play could put him in line for a lucrative contract extension this summer, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I try to let my game speak for itself,’’ LaVine said. “I let [the press] assess that and put the numbers behind it on the things I’ve done versus my contract and other players.” LaVine is averaging 28.9 PPG while shooting 51.8% from the floor and 42.9% from deep. He pulling down 5.4 RPG and dishing out 5.1 APG.
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