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Marc Gasol: “Door Is Not Closed” On An NBA Comeback

Marc Gasol is currently playing in Spain, but his NBA career may not be over. Gasol, who will turn 37 this month, is both an owner and player with Basquet Girona. In an interview with the Spanish publication Cadenaser, he indicated that he still has options to return to the NBA, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando.

“In the NBA they know I haven’t closed the door,” he said. “Now I wanted to do this thing (play at Girona) and they understood it, perhaps more than many people here in Spain. The door is not closed, I am not saying that I will return or that I am evaluating it, but I know that there is interest on their part … at the moment I am focused on Girona.”

A three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol played 13 NBA seasons before deciding to return to his native country. He was the Lakers’ starting center for most of last season, averaging 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 52 games.

However, Gasol didn’t see much playing time after Los Angeles signed Andre Drummond midway through the season. In September, he was traded to the Grizzlies, who released him five days later.

Gasol indicated that he’s not in a hurry to make a decision about his future. The Spanish League schedule runs through mid-May, and with Gasol determined to honor his commitment to Girona, it’s unlikely that he’ll be back in the NBA this season.

“The most precious thing we have is time,” he said. “We have little time and each of us decides how to invest it. to live unique experiences, I wanted to give this time to a city that supported me in difficult moments in sport, when I started my career at the age of 21.”

Sixers Notes: Roberts, Simmons, Fox, Haliburton, Embiid, Drummond

Outgoing NBPA executive director Michele Roberts blames the Sixers‘ front office for the acrimonious standoff with Ben Simmons, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. Roberts addressed the situation in a SiriusXM Radio interview.

“Candidly, I think a lot of this stuff could be resolved if everyone behaved like a grown-up,” she said. “I think what’s happening in Philadelphia frankly is ridiculous and I don’t know why we’re playing chicken with each other. It just strikes that this is something that could be worked out. It’s difficult.”

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Speaking of Simmons, the front office continues to ask for a massive haul in return for the disgruntled playmaker, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. That is a source of frustration for some opposing team executives. It’s believed that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is still hoping Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will eventually be made available, perhaps this summer.
  • Could Sacramento wind up being Simmons’ destination? Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com explores that possibility with the notion that De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are no longer considered untouchable.
  • The 76ers went with a jumbo look against the Magic this week and outscored Orlando 11-6 during that four-minute stretch, Derek Bodner of DailySix.com notes. Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid shared the court and limited the Magic to one offensive rebound during that time. However, the Twin Towers combination is not something the team should do very much, due to the issues it would create with the perimeter defense, Bodner opines.

Sixers’ Drummond, Clippers’ Jackson, Others Exit Protocols

Sixers center Andre Drummond has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and was in attendance at the team’s practice on Wednesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Drummond had been one of three Sixers players in the protocols, along with Shake Milton and Danny Green. While Green is still listed as out for Thursday’s game in Brooklyn, the team is hopeful that Milton will be able to clear the protocols and play in that game, tweets Pompey. Milton is currently considered questionable.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson has exited the COVID-19 protocols and rejoined the team, but won’t play on Wednesday in Boston, sources tell Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Jackson will need a little reconditioning work before being activated.
  • Kings rookie Davion Mitchell has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Another rookie, center Neemias Queta, is currently the only Sacramento player in the protocols.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, which is a sign that he has cleared the protocols, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Favors was just placed in the protocols on Tuesday, so he may have registered a false positive.

Drummond, Milton In Protocols; Sixers-Pelicans Game Postponed

12:09 PM: The game between the Sixers and Pelicans Sunday night has been postponed, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. In a follow-up tweet, Wojnarowski says Philadelphia may be able to resume playing Monday against Boston.


11:01 PM: The Sixers may not have eight available players for tonight’s game against the Pelicans, which could cause it to be postponed, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Andre Drummond and Shake Milton have both entered the league’s health and safety protocols, joining teammate Georges Niang, Charania adds. In addition, Furkan Korkmaz has a non-COVID illness, three other players are hurt and Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey are listed as questionable.

The Sixers are scheduled to play tomorrow night in Boston, where the Celtics also have COVID-19 issues, so that game may be in jeopardy as well. Then they’re off until Thursday against the Hawks, who saw All-Star guard Trae Young enter the protocols earlier today.

If they tested positive, Drummond and Milton will both remain in protocols for 10 days unless they can submit two consecutive negative tests for the virus at least 24 hours apart. Counting tonight’s game, Philadelphia is scheduled to play five times in the next 10 days.

Pistons’ Cunningham, Sixers’ Green Enter Protocols

The list of players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols continues to grow. Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Sixers wing Danny Green are the two latest players to enter the protocols, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Word broke earlier this afternoon that Detroit had lined up a hardship deal with Cheick Diallo, which suggested that a Piston was about to enter the health and safety protocols. Unfortunately, it’s the No. 1 overall pick, who had been hitting his stride lately after a slow start to his rookie season.

Despite a couple clunkers this week vs. Miami and New York, Cunningham has averaged 18.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 5.7 APG on .447/.441/.826 shooting in his last 10 games (33.9 MPG). Now, he’ll be sidelined at least 10 days, unless he can register two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart before then.

While Cunningham is the first Piston to enter the health and safety protocols this week, Green has some company in Philadelphia — Andre Drummond, Shake Milton, and Georges Niang are also in the protocols. The Sixers have already signed one replacement player – Tyler Johnson – and are eligible to add more if they so choose.

By our count, there are now 96 NBA players in the league’s health and safety protocols, though that number is constantly fluctuating.

Lakers Sign Andre Drummond

8:17pm: The Lakers have officially signed Andre Drummond, the team announced on social media.


12:54pm: Coveted free agent center Andre Drummond plans to sign with the reigning champion Lakers after he clears waivers today at 4 pm CT, his agent Jeff Schwartz has informed Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As we relayed yesterday, Woj previously reported that the Lakers were a “strong frontrunner” to ink the veteran big man. Drummond also met with the Celtics, a club in the market for a Daniel Theis replacement after moving their starting center in a cost-cutting deal.

The 6’10” Drummond, a two-time All-Star during his tenure with the Pistons, should immediately get the starting nod ahead of erratic current starter Marc Gasol and undersized reserve center Montrezl Harrell, Woj noted in a since-updated story previewing Drummond’s interest in the Lakers yesterday.

After spending portions of two seasons in Cleveland, Drummond reached a buyout agreement on Friday with the Cavaliers, who are prioritizing young new center Jarrett Allen. Across 25 games with the Cavs this season, Drummond averaged 17.5 PPG and 13.5 RPG.

Given the Lakers’ salary situation, the deal can only be at the veteran’s minimum this year. But a starting nod and robust rebounding numbers on a club expected to contend for a repeat title could be a terrific opportunity for the 27-year-old Drummond to prove his mettle and make a case for a longer-term contract this summer.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report observes (via Twitter) that there is “not a real obvious path” to an ample future long-term agreement with the Lakers. The team will have Drummond’s Non-Bird rights at season’s end, but the ability to offer a raise using those rights will be extremely limited.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Meet With Andre Drummond

The Celtics have emerged as a contender to watch in the pursuit of center Andre Drummond, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Drummond reached a buyout agreement with the Cavaliers on Friday, which allows him to officially become a free agent on Sunday once he clears waivers. Boston met with the 27-year-old following his release, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (as relayed by Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports).

The Celtics traded away starting center Daniel Theis on deadline day and could pitch a strong role to Drummond, though teams such as the Lakers are expected to provide competition for his services. Boston started third-year player Robert Williams III at center in its game against Milwaukee on Friday.

Drummond averaged 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 28.9 minutes in 25 games with the Cavaliers this season. Other teams such as the Clippers, Nets, Knicks and Hornets could also entice the veteran as he looks to set himself up for free agency this year.

Latest On Andre Drummond

With the March 25 trade deadline just 10 days away, we’ll soon find out whether the Cavaliers are right to believe they can find a worthwhile trade for Andre Drummond. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Cleveland continues to seek a modest asset, such as a second-round pick, for Drummond, while rival teams are skeptical that such an offer will be available.

For the time being, the Cavaliers remain opposed to the idea of buying out Drummond, but if that ultimately becomes their most viable option, the Lakers and Nets would be the center’s top suitors once he clears waivers, writes Charania.

One other scenario to watch would involve the Knicks. According to Charania, New York has explored the possibility of pursuing Drummond and has mulled offering him a multiyear deal if agrees to a buyout with Cleveland. The Knicks still have about $15MM in cap room this season, meaning the club could offer more years and more money than rival suitors for Drummond on the buyout market.

If Drummond is bought out and signs with a team like the Lakers or Nets, he’d enter free agency this offseason coming off a minimum-salary contract (or something close to it) and would only have Non-Bird rights, limiting his options on the open market. As such, he could be intrigued by the idea of getting a jump-start on free agency by signing an in-season multiyear deal with the Knicks.

Charania’s report is light on additional details, so it remains to be seen just how strong an offer the Knicks would be willing to make in that scenario — they’d probably have to go into the mid-level range or higher for Drummond to seriously consider it. It’s also unclear whether New York is focused only on buyout scenarios or if the club will make an effort to trade for the Cavs big man.

NBA Postpones Three Sunday Games

12:30pm: The NBA has officially postponed three games on Sunday: Cavs-Hawks, Nets-Nuggets, and Pelicans-Sixers, the league announced (via Twitter).


11:30am: The NBA has decided to postpone tonight’s game between the Cavaliers and Hawks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The contest between the Nets and Nuggets has been called off as well, Woj adds (Twitter link), and others may be in jeopardy, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The league is still considering whether to postpone tonight’s matchup between the Pelicans and Sixers, Wojnarowski tweets.

The news comes amid another day of numerous players being put into health and safety protocols, including Cleveland center Jarrett Allen and four of his teammates, along with Atlanta All-Star guard Trae Young. Philadelphia lost Andre Drummond and Shake Milton and already has a depleted roster.

COVID-19 forced multiple postponements last season, especially early on, but the league was able to avoid any schedule interruptions until earlier this week when the short-handed Bulls had games postponed against the Pistons and Raptors.

Multiple teams have seen their rosters decimated by the virus over the past few days, so more postponements could be coming. It’s particularly distressing for the league that this outbreak is happening so close to Christmas Day, which is an annual showcase. Among the teams scheduled to play on December 25, the Knicks, Celtics, Bucks, Nets and Lakers are especially short-handed.

Sixers Sign Andre Drummond To One-Year Deal

AUGUST 4: The Sixers have officially signed Drummond, the team announced today in a press release. Minimum-salary signings are one of the transactions that can be formally completed during the free agency moratorium.


AUGUST 3: The Sixers have reached an agreement with free agent center Andre Drummond on a one-year deal, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com (Twitter link), it’s a minimum-salary contract.

It’s an interesting fit for Drummond, who – as a member of the Pistons and Cavaliers – has had some fierce battles with 76ers center Joel Embiid over the years. In 2021/22, he’ll be Embiid’s backup in the middle, taking the spot previously occupied by Dwight Howard, who has agreed to return to the Lakers, Drummond’s most recent team.

Drummond, who will turn 28 next Tuesday, is one of the NBA’s best rebounders, having led the league in the category in four separate seasons. In 2020/21, he averaged 14.9 PPG and 12.0 RPG in 46 total games (27.0 MPG) for the Cavs and Lakers.

Drummond has spent much of his NBA career putting up big numbers for lottery teams or borderline playoff clubs. He joined the Lakers last season hoping to contribute to a winner, but fell out of the team’s rotation entirely by the time L.A. was eliminated by Phoenix in Game 6 of the opening round. In Philadelphia, he’ll be looking once again to prove he can be a reliable role player on a title-contending club.

The Sixers, who have agreed to re-sign Furkan Korkmaz via his Bird rights and Drummond to a minimum-salary contract, still have the mid-level exception at their disposal in free agency.

Cavaliers To Negotiate Buyout With Andre Drummond

The Cavaliers couldn’t find a taker for Andre Drummond before the trade deadline, so the two sides will begin talks on a buyout, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Cleveland was hoping to get at least a draft pick for the veteran center, but the right offer never came. Drummond’s $28.75MM salary was an impediment to getting a deal done, as most teams would have needed to include valuable players to match salaries. The Celtics, Knicks, Mavericks and Bulls were among the teams rumored to have interest in trading for Drummond.

Drummond is still a productive player, averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, but he hasn’t played since February 12 while the Cavs have been searching for a trade partner. The 27-year-old will be a restricted free agent this summer.

The Lakers are considered the favorites to sign Drummond once he clears waivers, according to a report this week.

Community Shootaround: Andre Drummond

Pistons center Andre Drummond could be the biggest name on the free agent market this summer. Right now, he’s the biggest name on the trading block.

The Hawks are reportedly in discussions to acquire the league’s leading rebounder. A separate report also named the Celtics, Mavericks and Raptors as potential suitors for Drummond’s services.

The trade talk makes sense from Detroit’s perspective. In the midst of a disappointing, injury-riddled season, the Pistons need to seriously consider hitting the reset button. Owner Tom Gores told reporters on Thursday that the front office needed to reassess its approach to make the franchise a serious contender.

The Hawks possess two things that a rebuilding club covets — expiring contracts and draft picks. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that the lottery-protected pick the Nets owe the Hawks is one of the items on the table. Atlanta also has three large expiring contracts — Chandler Parsons, Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner — and could use one of those to facilitate a trade.

Drummond holds a $28.75MM option on the final year of his contract and is expected to opt out this summer, which waters down his trade value.

The Hawks could take a look at Drummond and see how he fits around their young core of Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. The Young-Drummond pick-and-roll combo could be quite formidable. If both parties like what they see, Drummond could re-sign with the club in July.

Drummond could also be the piece that turns a marginal contender into a serious one and a serious contender into a champion. He would be a major upgrade in the middle for Boston but it’s unknown what GM Danny Ainge would give up to rent Drummond. The Celtics have two extra first-rounders with some protections from Memphis and Milwaukee. The Pistons would likely want the Grizzlies pick as the centerpiece of a deal with the Celtics.

Drummond could be an interesting fit with Dallas next to Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavericks have Courtney Lee‘s expiring $12.76MM contract to dangle but don’t have any extra first-round picks to toss in.

The Raptors could trade either of their two large expiring contracts — Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka — if they view Drummond as an upgrade.

That brings us to our question of the day: If the Pistons deal Andre Drummond, which team would be the best fit for him? And will he wind up with the Hawks or a playoff contender?

Please weigh in on this topic in our comments section. We look forward to your input.

Hornets To Pursue Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond is expected to be one of the best available players in a weak 2020 free agent class and the Pistons will have competition for his services. Sean Deveney of Heavy.com hears that the Hornets will pursue the big man this offseason.

Charlotte has had interest in Drummond for over a year and the franchise is expected to have significant cap space this summer for the first time in years. Bismack Biyombo ($17MM), Marvin Williams ($15MM), and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($13MM) will all see their deals expire, setting the Hornets up for a chance to add new talent in free agency.

“He’ll be a priority there,” one league executive told Deveney. “It’s just a matter of whether they make him a priority now and give up something to get him or try to make the move later. It’s a very cautious group, Mitch Kupchak and those guys. But they might want to get this guy into the fold sooner rather than later, there’s just a lot of incentive there on both sides.”

The Hornets have interest in securing Drummond via trade before this year’s deadline, though the Pistons have shown no indication that they are willing to move the center. However, Detroit has had talks with other teams about the big man in previous years and a rough start to the season has to make the franchise take a hard look in the mirror.

An offer for Drummond likely would not include one of their young, promising players (Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, or PJ Washington), though Deveney writes that if Charlotte includes one of the group, it’s likely to be Monk. The Hornets can keep all of those players if it waits until free agent to pursue the big man, though there are advantages to acquiring Drummond sooner, such as acquiring the center’s Bird Rights and having him on the roster to help the Hornets (6-9 as of this writing) make a playoff push in the Eastern Conference.

Community Shootaround: Andre Drummond

Unlike the free agent frenzy this summer, next year’s open market will produce precious little drama.

Unless Anthony Davis is serious about testing the waters after the Lakers expended many assets to acquire him, there will be no marquee names on the unrestricted free agent list.

Pistons center Andre Drummond might be the most intriguing and polarizing player on the market.

He can become an unrestricted free agent if he declines his player option of $28.75MM. It might be the ideal time for Drummond to test the waters, considering the lack of star power in next year’s free agent class.

He’s the league premier rebounder, particularly at the offensive end. Despite not developing a 3-point shot — though coach Dwane Casey is willing to give him some chances in the future — Drummond averaged a career-best 17.3 PPG last season.

His free throw shooting is still poor but he’s improved enough to stay on the court in crunch time, going from below 40 percent to around 60 the past two seasons.

He’s adept in pick-and-roll situations and led his team in blocks and steals last season. However, his overall defense often leaves something to be desired.

The Pistons have a dilemma on their hands. They could try to work out an extension with Drummond, who is still only 26 and in the prime of his career.

They could also opt to play things out and perhaps trade him before the deadline if their season goes sour. However, if Drummond has a big year and they hold onto him, they could lose him for nothing next summer and face another long rebuild.

Since Drummond didn’t make an All-NBA team last season, he’s not eligible for the super max. If he wanted a maximum extension, he’d have to decline his player option, then receive a 20 percent raise on his $27MM salary for the upcoming season.

With 8% raises during the ensuing three seasons, Drummond could receive a four-year, $145.65MM extension beginning in 2020/21.

The Pistons have been handcuffed by a bad salary cap situation but beyond Blake Griffin‘s contract, they have few salary commitments after this season and will be in pretty good position to make moves next summer.

That leads us to our question of the day: Should the Pistons offer Andre Drummond an extension? If so, would it be in Drummond’s best interests to accept the offer or should he shop his services in a weak free agent market next summer?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Lakers “Strong Frontrunner” To Sign Andre Drummond

The Lakers are considered a “strong frontrunner” to sign center Andre Drummond when he clears waivers, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The team’s star players have been trying to convince Drummond to join them and he is close to making a decision, according to sources (Twitter link).

Drummond finalized a buyout with the Cavaliers on Friday and will officially clear waivers on Sunday evening.

The Lakers can’t give Drummond more than the veteran’s minimum, but they have a starting job to offer as well as a chance to compete for a title. He has only been to the playoffs twice in his nine NBA seasons.

Drummond met recently with the Celtics, who are also a contender for his services. Boston is in the market for help at center after trading Daniel Theis on Thursday.

The Knicks pulled out of the Drummond sweepstakes, deciding against getting into a bidding war, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. With $15MM in cap space, New York is in position to make Drummond the best offer, but the Knicks have decided to use those resources elsewhere.

Berman states that team officials have been watching film on Drummond to determine how he would fit alongside Julius Randle and whether he would be worth the investment if it means taking Mitchell Robinson out of the starting lineup. The Knicks decided they’re set at center with Robinson, Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson providing a solid defensive presence.

New York could still be active on the buyout market, a source tells Berman. Point guard Jeff Teague, who was waived today by the Magic, played for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota. Other names to watch are small forward Otto Porter, who was traded to the Magic on Thursday and still remains with the team, and center Gorgui Dieng, who was waived Friday by the Grizzlies.

Cavaliers Buy Out Andre Drummond’s Contract

4:45pm: The buyout agreement is official, according to a team press release.

“I want to thank Andre for his contributions to our team both on and off the court, and for his professionalism and mutual cooperation as we navigated through this process with him and his representation,” GM Koby Altman said. “We have great respect for Andre as a person and a player here in Cleveland and we are happy to have reached an outcome that is in the best interest of both Andre and our team.”


12:53pm: The Cavaliers have reached a buyout agreement with center Andre Drummond, reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Drummond will be free to sign with any team once he officially clears waivers.

The move was expected, with reports on Thursday indicating that the Cavs were negotiating a buyout with Drummond after failing to find a favorable trade at the deadline.

Drummond, 27, is averaging a double-double for the eight consecutive season in 2020/21, with 17.5 PPG and 13.5 RPG in 25 games (28.9 MPG) for Cleveland. However, he wasn’t in the Cavs’ long-term plans, so the team pulled him out of its rotation in February to create more minutes for new center Jarrett Allen and to resolve his situation.

Drummond’s $28.75MM expiring salary made it impossible for the club to recoup anything of real value on the trade market. However, he could be as available on the free agent market for as little as the veteran’s minimum. Money will be one of the factors Drummond must consider as he weighs which team to join next, since some of his suitors – including the Lakers – will be limited to offering the prorated minimum, while others – like the Knicks – could go much higher.

His potential role and the opportunity to compete for a championship are other factors that Drummond will have to consider as he explores his options. Besides the Lakers and Knicks, the big man is expected to talk to the Clippers, Celtics, Hornets, and possibly the Nets.

Executives around the league reportedly view the Lakers as the frontrunners for Drummond.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Execs Expect Andre Drummond To End Up With Lakers

With just two days left before the NBA’s trade deadline, the Andre Drummond situation remains unchanged — the Cavaliers are still holding out hope that they’ll be able to recoup a second-round pick in a trade, while people around the league remain skeptical it will happen. The main roadblock is Drummond’s $28.75MM salary, which will be difficult for teams to match without giving up a rotation player.

“The hard part is he just makes so much money,” one assistant general manager told Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. “It’s hard to not include a contract you don’t want to trade.”

The Celtics, Knicks, Mavericks, and Bulls are among the teams that have kicked the tires on Drummond, and it’s possible one of those clubs – or a new suitor – will meet Cleveland’s asking price right before Thursday’s deadline. However, according to Fischer, teams like the Lakers and Nets remain confident that the Cavs will be unable to find a deal they like.

The Lakers and Nets have long been identified as the top contenders to sign Drummond if he’s bought out and reaches free agency, though it sounds like Los Angeles is viewed as the leader in that scenario.

Fischer writes that you’d be “hard-pressed” to find an executive around the NBA who doesn’t think Drummond would sign with the Lakers as a free agent. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst conveyed a similar sentiment on his latest Hoop Collective podcast.

“The league believes, and I know that’s a vague statement, but I’m saying it that way to avoid trapping myself,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The league believes, numerous teams I’ve talked to believe that Andre Drummond is heading for the Lakers if – slash when – he gets bought out.”

It’s worth noting that the Lakers would be limited to offering Drummond the veteran’s minimum in free agency, while the Nets and other potential suitors could go significantly higher using various mid-level or disabled player exceptions. Still, unless the 27-year-old gives up a significant chunk of what’s left on his $28.75MM salary this season, I’d expect him to prioritize his potential role and fit with a new team over a little extra money.

Cavs Plan To Sit Andre Drummond As They Pursue Trade

The Cavaliers are planning to keep Andre Drummond on the bench as they work on finding a trade destination for the veteran center, according to Adrian Wojnarowsi and Brian Windorst of ESPN. As ESPN’s duo explains, Jarrett Allen is considered the Cavs’ center of the future and the team believes it’s unfair to Drummond to limit his minutes as the transition to Allen takes place.

According to Wojnarowski and Windhorst, general manager Koby Altman discussed the decision with Drummond and his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports. While Schwartz wouldn’t confirm or deny ESPN’s report, he offered the following statement:

“Whichever direction this goes, Andre is 27, in his prime, and I believe strongly that he has a great deal to add to a team building toward a postseason run.”

Drummond was ruled out of Sunday’s game for “rest” purposes, but sources told Shams Charania of The Athletic that the center sat on Sunday in part due to his recent “attitude and play.” Charania adds that head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has had multiple sit-down discussions with the 27-year-old, who has been frustrated by the Cavaliers’ recent slump.

According to Charania, the Raptors and Cavs are engaging in trade discussions about Drummond. However, a deal could take a while to come together as Toronto and Cleveland navigate through cap-related challenges and the possibility of incorporating other teams, so nothing is imminent.

Wojnarowski tweets that, while Cleveland is gauging the Drummond market, there are no “serious” ongoing talks taking place. Addressing the Raptors possibility specifically, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca confirms (via Twitter) that Toronto has interest, but says discussions have only been exploratory and notes that matching Drummond’s $28.75MM salary would be difficult.

Other teams, including the Nets and Mavericks, would have interest in Drummond if he’s bought out, sources tell The Athletic. It’s unclear how many clubs besides Toronto would be interested in pursuing the big man via trade.

Cleveland’s obvious preference would be to avoid a buyout, especially since the team remains in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff spot and wouldn’t want to essentially hand Drummond to a conference rival for nothing, Charania writes. No buyout discussions have taken place to this point, sources tell ESPN.

Meanwhile, Drummond may not be the only Cavs center who is traded prior to the March 25 deadline. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports that the club has received trade offers for all of its centers, though only Drummond and JaVale McGee are considered available — Allen isn’t going anywhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Trade Andre Drummond To Cavaliers

9:21pm: It’s a done deal, with the Cavaliers and Pistons both issuing press releases to confirm the trade. Detroit announced in a separate release that, as expected, Frazier has been waived to make room on the roster for the incoming players.

1:19pm: The Cavaliers are finalizing a trade with the Pistons that will see them acquire center Andre Drummond, a league source tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (via Twitter), Detroit will receive Brandon Knight and John Henson, both of whom are on expiring contracts. Cleveland will also send the Pistons a second-round pick, per O’Connor.

The pick will be the lesser of Cleveland’s 2023 own pick or the 2023 second-rounder Golden State owes the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets.

Drummond, the league’s premier rebounder, holds a $28.75MM option on his contract for next season and he’s expected to opt out and test a weak free agent market. The Pistons reportedly were prepared to retain Drummond after talks with the Hawks and Knicks fell through but ultimately decided to move on and go into rebuild mode. Detroit was looking for a first-round pick for Drummond but settled on the second-rounder, along with those expiring contracts.

The modest haul for Drummond was surprising but Detroit’s front office wanted to avoid the possibility of Drummond opting in, O’Connor adds in another tweet. It also gives Cleveland the opportunity to see how Drummond meshes with the young backcourt of  Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

The Pistons will now have approximately $35MM in cap space this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Cleveland will be close to the cap if Drummond opts in or re-signs with the starting salary in the $29-$30MM range, Marks adds.

Knight is making approximately $15.64MM and Henson has a $9.73MM contract, so the Pistons will shave some money off this year’s cap. They were perilously close to the luxury tax line prior to the proposed deal. Detroit was less than $4,000 under the tax line but moves to $1.7MM under the threshold via this trade, according to Marks (Twitter link).

Drummond has a $857K trade bonus that will be applied to his $27.1MM cap hit for this season, Marks relays in another tweet. Drummond, who has spent his whole career with Pistons since being chosen in the 2012 lottery, is averaging 17.8 PPG and an NBA-best 15.8 RPG this season.

The Pistons will have to open up a roster spot before making the trade official since it is at the 15-man limit. It’s likely that Tim Frazier, who has served as the No. 3 point guard behind Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson, will be waived unless Detroit makes another trade, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extension Candidate: Andre Drummond

Pistons owner Tom Gores made it clear before the end of last season that there would be no haggling over money in negotiations with Andre Drummond. Gores declared publicly in April that Drummond is a “max player” and it seems as though every move the franchise has made recently is designed to build around the 22-year-old center. The only mystery regarding Drummond is whether he’ll receive an extension before the end of training camp or if he’ll come to terms on a new contract next summer.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

A maximum contract for the Jeff Schwartz client would be a projected $20.4MM starting salary with maximum raises of 7.5%. A four-year deal would put $90.78MM in Drummond’s bank account. He could also receive a fifth year if the Pistons make him their Designated Player, giving him a projected $117.3MM over the life of the contract.
In the highly unlikely scenario that Drummond wins the MVP award this season, he would qualify for an even greater max deal triggered by the Derrick Rose rule with a projected starting salary of $24.9MM.

It was already apparent from Drummond’s rookie season that the Pistons had been gifted a franchise player when he slid to the No. 9 selection in the 2012 draft. Only two All-Star talents — Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard — were selected ahead of Drummond, who played one inconsistent season with the University of Connecticut before turning pro. He quickly established himself as a ferocious rebounder in his rookie season, grabbing double-digit boards in 16 games before the All-Star break despite limited playing time. A back injury sidelined him most of the second half but a 29-point, 11-rebound performance against the Cavs in April of that season showed what he could do when healthy.

He’s turned into a double-double machine over the past two seasons, averaging 13.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his second year, followed by a 13.8/13.5/1.9 slash line last season. His 21.5 Hollinger player efficiency rating and 21.4 Basketball Reference PER placed him among the Top 25 players in the league last season.

Drummond, who will make $3,272,091 this season, is still just scratching the surface of his potential. His low-post game is still in the development stages — he’s a 35% shooter from 3-10 feet in his young career — and he’s a woeful 39.7% free throw shooter. That makes him a target for getting intentionally fouled when opponents are playing catchup or trying to slow the Pistons’ momentum.

Those weaknesses won’t affect Drummond’s contract situation. The main reason why an extension may not get done this year is to provide flexibility for the front office next summer. If Drummond holds off on the extension, the Pistons will have more cash to spend to make whatever improvements are necessary. The Pistons are projected to have anywhere from $5.7MM-$38.0MM in cap space next summer, depending on how coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy manages his roster decisions.

There is inherent risk involved for both sides to delay the process. Drummond’s incentive to sign by November 2nd (the usual October 31st deadline is pushed back a couple of days because it falls on a weekend) is to get the guaranteed money before a potential significant injury could affect his long-term value. The Pistons’ incentive to get the deal done is to keep their franchise player as happy as possible and that’s the approach they’re taking, as Van Gundy confirmed in July that extension talks would begin this summer.

Leading up to those negotiations, Van Gundy continued to construct his team around Drummond’s talents, much like Orlando’s roster was built around Dwight Howard when Van Gundy coached the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance in 2009. He re-signed point guard Reggie Jackson to a whopping five-year, $80MM deal to be Drummond’s pick-and-roll partner for years to come. He traded for a stretch four, Ersan Ilyasova, to pair up with Drummond in the frontcourt after concluding that the duo of Drummond and Greg Monroe, a low-post power forward, clogged up the middle. Monroe wound up signing with the division rival Bucks as an unrestricted free agent. Van Gundy also upgraded at small forward by acquiring Marcus Morris and drafting Stanley Johnson.

So while the Pistons could put themselves in a better position to make trades and sign free agents by waiting to lock up Drummond next summer, the more likely scenario is for Drummond to sign on the dotted line and get the most important order of business for both parties out of the way before the season starts.

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