Andre Drummond

In-Market Bubble Updates: Pistons, Wolves, Cavs

As the NBA’s bottom eight teams gear up to conduct group workouts starting next week, the Pistons have 15 players in attendance for the first phase of their in-market bubble. However, that 15-man group includes five G Leaguers, with a number of notable names from the NBA roster absent.

As Eric Woodyard of ESPN details, head coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday that Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, and Langston Galloway aren’t participating.

“All of our young guys are here. Derrick Rose and Blake are not here, which is totally understandable,” Casey said. “Both are working out, and it’s nothing physical. They’re both 100 percent. Blake’s working out in LA, and Derrick is in and out of town.”

As for Wood and Galloway, both players are set to reach unrestricted free agency this fall, so Casey said he understood why they’d be reluctant to participate in workouts with the club over the next few weeks.

“We’re not reading anything into that either way,” Casey said, per Woodyard. “So it’s just something I totally get because if I’m a free agent, I wouldn’t attend anyway to the team you’re not under contract with.”

Here’s more on those mini-camps taking part in “bubbles” across the country:

  • The majority of the Timberwolves‘ key players, including Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and restricted free agent Malik Beasley, are participating in their in-market bubble, as are G Leaguers Canyon Barry and Lindell Wigginton (Twitter link via Woodyard). Free-agent-to-be Evan Turner, Omari Spellman, and Juan Hernangomez won’t be in attendance. Hernangomez is an RFA and is currently overseas, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), while Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that Spellman’s camp is hoping to find the big man a new home.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com provides details on the Cavaliers‘ in-market bubble plans for the next two-and-a-half weeks, with group practices set to begin next Wednesday. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, both eligible for free agency, won’t attend, but G Leaguers Levi Randolph, Marques Bolden and Vince Edwards have been invited to participate.
  • A personal matter will also prevent center Andre Drummond from attending the Cavaliers‘ mini-camp, though he wanted to be there, sources tell Fedor. “He’s been pretty engaged in everything,” one source said of Drummond. “It’s not like he’s gone dark. He wanted to be there. It’s nothing malicious. It’s not a sign or anything like that. It’s not going to cause a rift.”
  • The NBA sent a memo to the league’s bottom eight teams warning them that if they “require or coerce” players to participate in the optional workouts, they’ll be subject to league punishment, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

Central Notes: Cavs, Warren, Bulls, Pistons

The Cavaliers are set to return to their practice facility in mid-September to hold a voluntary minicamp. While most players will be there, pending free agents Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova will not be participating, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Along with Thompson and Dellavedova, Andre Drummond isn’t expected to be in attendance at the Cavaliers’ minicamp due to a personal matter. Fedor says that the veteran center, who is likely to pick up his $28.7MM player option for next season, was initially interested in attending.

The Cavaliers are among eight teams who did not qualify for the NBA’s restart in Orlando that will get the chance to hold practices with their players.

Here’s more from across the Central Division:

  • In an extensive interview with Michael Pina of GQ, Pacers forward T.J. Warren spoke about his love of reading books. “I was thinking, I’ve gotta find a way to stimulate my mind when I’m not playing basketball and reading things that interest me,” Warren explained. “Sometimes you can get mixed up with some of the information you’re getting through social media or television, but if you actually like reading and getting it from the source, you can comprehend it better.” The 26-year-old forward had impressive performances in the bubble, which included a career-high 53 points against the 76ers in the seeding games.
  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com discussed some potential point guard options for the Bulls, who have the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. In his latest mailbag, one reader asked Smith if the Bulls would think about trading down if LaMelo Ball is available at No. 4. In response to that question, Smith points out that new Chicago general manager Arturas Karnisovas has had success with finding gems later in the draft. However, if Smith had his choice, he would trade down for Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, especially if Memphis’ James Wiseman is off the board.
  • In his latest mailbag, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com wrote about Sekou Doumbouya‘s possible role next season under head coach Dwane Casey, various draft options for the Pistons, and Derrick Rose‘s outlook. When it comes to October’s draft, Langlois writes that all options are on the table for the Pistons, who own the seventh overall pick. He mentions that they could select either Deni Avdija, Killian Hayes, Isaac Okoro, Onyeka Okongwu, or Haliburton.

Eastern Notes: Drummond, Sabonis, Knicks, Nets

In his latest mailbag for The Athletic on Tuesday, Chris Kirschner answered questions relating to the Hawks‘ future, Kevin Huerter, Clint Capela, and a handful of other topics.

Within the mailbag, Kirschner noted that veteran center Andre Drummond wanted to be traded to Atlanta before the Hawks acquired Capela from the Rockets. According to the Hawks beat writer, Drummond – who is friends with Trae Young – was telling people he wanted to be in Atlanta. However, the 26-year-old center was ultimately traded to the Cavaliers for John Henson, Brandon Knight, and a 2023 second-round pick in February.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Pacers announced on Wednesday that forward Domantas Sabonis is day-to-day with plantar fasciitis, per J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter links). Sabonis, who said he hasn’t touched a ball in six days, added that there’s no set timetable for his return. This season, the 6’11” big man is averaging 18.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG, and 5.0 APG in 34.8 MPG.
  • According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, the Knicks are expected to hire one of their several head-coaching candidates to be an assistant coach under the team’s new head coach. Begley adds that there is internal support for either Mike Miller, who was New York’s interim head coach, or Mike Woodson to join the staff as an assistant. Both Miller and Woodson interviewed for the head coaching vacancy.
  • Scott Soshnick of Sportico reported on Wednesday that the Nets are hiring Madison Square Garden Co. executive John Abbamondi to be their new team president.

Cavs Notes: Wade, Bell, Trier, Drummond

The Cavaliers, who agreed to new deals with Dean Wade and Jordan Bell today, are using a portion of their mid-level exception to sign Wade to a four-year contract, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com details. Wade gets a first-year salary of $375K, well above the prorated minimum, in exchange for two non-guaranteed seasons and a team option in 2022/23 (Twitter link).

As for Bell, it appears he’ll be signed using the Cavs’ mid-level exception as well, allowing the team to give him $250K for remainder of the season. However, his contract is a short-term arrangement — it’s a two-year deal with a non-guaranteed minimum salary for 2020/21, Fedor notes.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers explored the possibility of signing Allonzo Trier when he cleared waivers on Sunday, but the former Knicks guard was seeking more money and a different contract structure than what the club wanted to offer, according to Fedor. Additionally, Fedor adds that some members of the basketball operations department questioned Trier’s fit alongside guards like Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, and Kevin Porter.
  • While Andre Drummond has long been considered a lock to opt into the final year of his contract, it remains to be seen whether he and the Cavaliers might work out a longer-term deal. Sources tell Fedor that both sides have shown some interest in a contract extension. However, both the Cavs and Drummond may want to take some time to consider their options — especially if Cleveland ends up using its lottery pick on a big man.
  • Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff intends to make at least one addition to his coaching staff, though it might not happen until later in the year, says Fedor.

New Dates Set For Option Decisions, Salary Guarantees, More

As part of the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement terms that the NBA and NBPA have agreed to, a series of option decision deadlines, salary guarantee dates, and other offseason dates and deadlines have been pushed back.

We don’t yet have a full list that outlines how every date and deadline will be adjusted, but in cases where a deadline fell slightly before or after the start of the 2020/21 league year, those dates have been pushed back to coincide with the new start date for the league year, which will begin on October 19 rather than July 1.

For instance, as Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets, player option decisions for Gordon Hayward (Celtics), DeMar DeRozan (Spurs), Mike Conley (Jazz), and Andre Drummond (Cavaliers) will now be due on October 17 instead of June 29. Lakers big man Anthony Davis will have to decide on his 2020/21 player option by October 14, one day after a potential NBA Finals Game 7, Charania adds.

[RELATED: Re-Examining NBA Player Options For 2020/21]

Meanwhile, the salary guarantee date for four Knicks veterans – Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton – who currently have $1MM partial guarantees for 2020/21 will be October 17 at 3:00pm eastern time, rather than on June 28, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Additionally, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link) reported over the weekend, traded player exceptions that were set to expire in early July will have their expiry dates moved to corresponding dates in October. For example, since the free agency moratorium will now expire on October 23 instead of July 6, the Warriors‘ $17.2MM TPE that would have expired on July 7 will instead do so on October 24.

[RELATED: Outstanding NBA Trade Exceptions]

There are other deadlines that figure to be closely tied to the new league year as well. For instance, the deadline to tender a qualifying offer to a potential restricted free agent will likely be on October 17 rather than June 29.

Some date adjustments may be trickier to determine and will require further clarification. For instance, some players had been scheduled to receive full or partial guarantees if they remained under contract through August 1. That date may simply be shifted to November 19, one month after the ’20/21 league year begins. But the NBA has proposed opening training camps for next season on November 10, complicating that timeline.

Cavs’ Andre Drummond Confirms Plan To Opt In

Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, one of 29 veterans who has a player option for 2020/21, confirmed during a Tuesday appearance on ESPN’s Le Batard & Friends — STUpodity podcast that he expects to exercise that option.

“Yeah, it’s going to be hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said when asked about his option decision (link via ESPN). “I definitely will be in Cleveland.”

Drummond’s comments today don’t come as a real surprise. His option is worth $28,751,774, a salary that would have been tough to turn down even before the coronavirus pandemic jeopardized the league’s 2020/21 cap projection. A report shortly after Cleveland acquired Drummond in February indicated that he was expected to opt in.

Still, knowing that the 26-year-old plans to pick up that option should help the Cavaliers plan the rest of their offseason. With that $28.75MM on their books, the Cavs are unlikely to have any cap room, and may be less inclined to aggressively pursue a new deal with Tristan Thompson, their other veteran center.

After spending the seven-and-a-half years of his NBA career in Detroit, Drummond appeared in just eight games for Cleveland following the February trade between the Pistons and Cavs. For the season, he averaged 17.7 PPG, 1.9 SPG, 1.6 BPG, and a league-leading 15.2 RPG in 57 games (33.0 MPG) with the two clubs.

Central Notes: Pistons, Drummond, Karnisovas, Bulls

As one of just a few teams that will enter the 2020 offseason with cap room in hand, the Pistons will have plenty of options to consider as they weigh what moves to make.

While signing free agents using that cap space is one potential path for Detroit, so is using the room to take on unwanted contracts and collect draft assets. To complicate matters, the revenue the NBA has lost due to its stoppage may affect next season’s cap, impacting the amount of flexibility the club actually has. In other words, head of basketball operations Ed Stefanski has to make contingency plans for a wide variety of outcomes, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details.

“I’ve been in so many markets. To go into free agency and have a plan and once free agency starts, the plan gets blown up,” Stefanski said. “We have numerous plans and different scenarios that could occur. We have to use this money wisely. What makes the most sense to us? We’re asking those questions now. What makes the most sense for the Pistons now?”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Although there has been widespread speculation that Andre Drummond will pick up the $28MM+ player option on his contract for 2020/21, the Cavaliers center tells Michael Pina of SB Nation that he hasn’t finalized any decisions on that front. “For me I haven’t really thought too deep into my next decision yet because obviously we can’t really do anything yet,” Drummond said, referring to the NBA’s hiatus and moratorium.
  • Zach Kram of The Ringer breaks down the offseason checklist for the Bulls and new executive VP president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.
  • In a conversation with Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, John Hollinger suggests that Karnisovas’ focus as he builds the Bulls‘ new front office figures to be on scouting and drafting. Marc Eversley (Sixers), Matt Lloyd (Magic), and Mark Hughes (Clippers), who have reportedly interviewed for the general manager job, are all “veteran road warriors on the scouting side,” says Hollinger.

Cavaliers Notes: Drummond, Thompson, Shumpert

Andre Drummond‘s option decision will be the move that ultimately controls the Cavaliers‘ offseason, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who hears from multiple sources that Drummond exercising that option remains the most probable outcome. With that $28.7MM option on their books, the Cavs almost certainly wouldn’t open up any cap room, limiting their potential offseason moves.

The Cavaliers are “fully prepared” for Drummond to opt in and felt when they acquired the veteran center that there was no better player – among those would be available and realistically attainable – to spend that money on, according to Fedor. As Fedor explains, Cleveland considers Drummond’s skill-set, including his ability to protect the rim on defense and roll to the rim on offense, a good match for the young guards the team is developing.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • In a mailbag for Cleveland.com, Fedor addressed a handful of topics, including Tristan Thompson‘s possible future with the Cavaliers. Fedor says he was convinced following the acquisition of Drummond that Thompson wouldn’t be retained, but now feels that there could still be a place for the big man in Cleveland if the price is right.
  • Speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link), Iman Shumpert discussed the gradual dismantling of the Cavaliers team that won the NBA Finals in 2016, noting that he has talked to Kyrie Irving about the subject since they left Cleveland. Shumpert expressed some regret that the roster didn’t remain fully intact for another year or two, given the success the club had.
  • In case you missed it, the most recent installment in our Salary Cap Preview series focused on the Cavaliers’ 2020/21 cap outlook.

And-Ones: Olympics, Croatia, Rights Fees, Option Decisions

Free agency issues could limit the roster for Team USA at the Olympics next summer, writes Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. That wouldn’t have been a significant concern this year because of a relatively weak free agent class, but Reynolds notes that LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and others could be on the open market in 2021.

The Olympics are set to open on July 23 of next year, meaning that training camp will begin early in the month, which marks prime time for free agency decisions. Reynolds suggests that could lead to situations similar to what happened in 2012 with Deron Williams, who couldn’t participate in contact drills until his deal with the Nets was signed.

The U.S. won’t be the only nation affected, Reynolds adds. Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and France’s Rudy Gobert can both opt out in the summer of 2021, while another year of wear and tear could affect Marc Gasol‘s desire to play for Spain.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Croatia’s top division has become the latest international league to call off its season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. No champion will be declared, and the teams that played in the top division this season will be able to do so again next year.
  • Alex Sherman of CNBC examines how networks are handling the rights fees they paid for games that have been canceled because of the coronavirus. The NBA doesn’t have a provision in its contracts for networks to receive refunds, sources familiar with the deals tell Sherman. While “force majeure” provisions exist, they may not apply to a pandemic. Sherman speculates that even if they can make the argument that they’re entitled to money back, some networks may not pursue it so they can preserve their relationships with the NBA and other leagues. He notes that payments for broadcast rights haven’t been refunded when seasons have been reduced because of labor disputes. “Let’s say it’s a one-time only event, obviously you’re not going to pay,” said former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson. “But what you’re talking when you have a 10- or 15-year agreement, year after year, you work it out in an accommodation of some kind.”
  • In an article for The Athletic, former NBA executive John Hollinger offers predictions on all 41 player and team options for the upcoming offseason. Among the richest deals, Hollinger expects Mike Conley to stay with the Jazz for $34.5MM, Gordon Hayward to opt in for $34.187MM from the Celtics and Andre Drummond to remain with the Cavaliers for $28.75MM. Hollinger predicts Anthony Davis will turn down $28.55MM from the Lakers and sign a new deal with the team, unless the cap number falls so low that it will benefit him to wait for next year.

NBA Plans To Launch Players-Only 2K Tournament

12:07pm: The Boardroom has provided a full list of the 16 participants in the tournament, along with the first-round matchups (Twitter link). Devin Booker (Suns), Trae Young (Hawks), and Zach LaVine (Bulls) are among the other stars set to take part in the event.

11:19am: With no NBA games expected to happen on the court anytime soon, the league is setting up a virtual tournament in an attempt to sate fans’ appetite for basketball, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

According to Haynes, the league intends to launch an NBA 2K tournament that will feature NBA players competing against one another. The goal is to begin the 10-day event this Friday, though the league is still working out and finalizing the details, sources tell Haynes. The tournament would be broadcast on ESPN.

Nets star Kevin Durant, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, and free agent big man DeMarcus Cousins are among the 16 players expected to participate, per Haynes.

Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel had previously tweeted that Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside and Heat swingman Derrick Jones were among the players set to play in an NBA 2K20 Players Tournament in April. That info appears to be based on an announcement from the NBPA, which was quickly deleted. Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone (via Twitter) shares the full list of participants the NBPA identified in that premature release.

According to Winderman, the tournament is expected to have a $100K prize for charity.