Andre Drummond

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.

Eastern Notes: Haliburton, VanVleet, Presti, Thompson

Iowa State sophomore Tyrese Haliburton might be the safest lottery pick for the Knicks among the guard prospects, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg told Marc Berman of the New York Post. Haliburton was averaging 15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.5 APG and 2.5 SPG before a wrist injury cut short his season. There isn’t any guard on par with Ja Morant in the draft, according to Greenberg, but Haliburton is a pure point guard who doesn’t carry any baggage.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Raptors would probably be willing to pay unrestricted free agent guard Fred VanVleet $17-20MM annually to retain his services, Blake Murphy of The Athletic opines. The market for VanVleet could drop significantly if the salary cap is lowered, with only a handful of teams having the ability to sign him using their space. VanVleet’s best option may be to secure long-term money from the Raptors since they hold his Bird rights, Murphy adds.
  • It’s doubtful the Bulls would make a serious run at Thunder GM Sam Presti during their planned front office restructuring, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Not only is it unknown whether Presti would be interested in a high-level front office role with the club but it would probably take $8-10MM annually to land his services, Johnson continues, and the Bulls historically haven’t forked up that kind of money. Presti would also likely want to bring in some of his own people, which would add to the tab, Johnson adds.
  • A sign-and-trade is the most likely outcome for Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. It’s increasingly likely that Andre Drummond will exercise his $28.7MM option, relegating Thompson to a bench role. The Cavs might want to bring back Thompson on a team-friendly contract, but if they draft a center that would also change the equation. Thompson has earned the right to test the market and a sign-and-trade could give him a chance to maximize his value and playing time, Fedor adds.

More Details On Cavaliers/John Beilein Split

John Beilein‘s stint as Cavaliers head coach has come to an abrupt end halfway through his first season in Cleveland, and there were warning signs even before the regular season began that things could be headed in this direction, according to a new report from Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd, and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

The Athletic’s trio suggests that players began to tune out Beilein during training camp, and there were already signals at that point that the new head coach was unhappy in Cleveland. After a pair of preseason blowout losses to the Celtics, league sources were saying that Beilein was second-guessing his decision to leave college for the pros, per The Athletic.

Beilein’s tone toward players was said to be an issue throughout the season, as he allegedly nitpicked fundamentals and displayed an inability to adapt to the NBA’s offensive and defensive structures, according to Charania, Lloyd, and Vardon.

“He was a dictator — not a coach suited for today’s NBA,” one source told The Athletic.

While players were immediately turned off by Beilein’s style, the longtime college coach was “stunned” by the culture in the NBA, according to The Athletic. He was surprised by players’ “revulsion” to long film sessions and practices, and wasn’t accustomed to things like load management – such as Kevin Love sitting out half of back-to-back sets – or trades, which he didn’t have to deal with in college. The Athletic’s report indicates Beilein had a hard time adjusting on offense after the Cavs sent Jordan Clarkson to Utah in December.

The Athletic’s report paints a picture of a marriage between team and coach that was doomed from the start. Here are a few more of the most notable details from the story:

  • Recently-acquired center Andre Drummond didn’t take to Beilein at all upon joining the Cavs earlier this month. One source told The Athletic that Drummond said the situation in Cleveland was worse than the one he’d come from in Detroit. The veteran center reportedly indicated he’d walk in free agency if Beilein was still the Cavs’ coach, Lloyd said in a radio appearance (Twitter link via Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan).
  • After Beilein said in a January film session that his team had been playing like “thugs,” he apologized, claiming that he had meant to say “slugs.” But several players never really bought that explanation, per The Athletic. “There was no coming back from that,” said one player, who suggested the excuse was an insult to the players’ intelligence. After that incident, a handful of players began blasting songs that prominently featured the word “thug” when Beilein was within earshot, sources told Charania, Lloyd, and Vardon.
  • The Athletic trio suggests that team owner Dan Gilbert may have had a hand in steering the head coaching search toward Beilein, despite his denials that it was his decision. One source told The Athletic that GM Koby Altman and his front office were at least more on board with Beilein than the previous group – led by David Griffin – was with the David Blatt hire in 2014.

Cavs Notes: Beilein, Drew, Drummond, Cap Room

With multiple members of the Cavaliers‘ front office away on vacations over the All-Star break, the plan is for them to reconvene in Cleveland on Wednesday, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. If there’s still no resolution by that point on John Beilein‘s status for the rest of the season, that resolution will likely come shortly thereafter. The Cavs are scheduled to resume play on Friday in Washington.

As we wait to see what Beilein and the Cavs decide, let’s round up a few other items out of Cleveland…

  • Beilein apparently isn’t the first Cavaliers head coach to consider an in-season departure in recent years. On an episode of the Tampering podcast, Joe Vardon of The Athletic said that interim head coach Larry Drew wanted to step down at the All-Star break in 2018/19, but was talked out of it by his agent (hat tip to RealGM). That’s not a particularly shocking revelation, considering Drew said in January 2019, “I don’t know if I ever want to be a head coach again after this year.”
  • Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, second-year Cavs guard Collin Sexton expressed enthusiasm about teaming up with newly-acquired center Andre Drummond. “It’s amazing, just knowing that we have a big man down there who’s going to block shots, run the floor and dunk,” Sexton said. “It’s amazing, and it’ll allow us on defense to be a lot more aggressive and be into the ball because we know that we have a big guy back there who can block shots.”
  • Thanks to the NBA’s updated 2020/21 cap projection and a flurry of deadline trades, there will be far less league-wide cap room available this summer than initially expected, writes Danny Leroux of The Athletic. Leroux points to the Grizzlies and Cavaliers as two teams that significantly reduced their 2020 spending power as a result of in-season deals. Before acquiring Dante Exum and Drummond, Cleveland was on track to have nearly $36MM in space. Now, assuming Drummond doesn’t walk in free agency, the team projects to be over the cap.

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Drummond, Sexton, Altman

Tristan Thompson could help solve the Raptors‘ rebounding issues, but a buyout in Cleveland appears unlikely, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. The native Canadian is among 12 players averaging a double-double, with 11.8 PPG and 10.3 RPG. With an expiring contract, he was expected to moved before the deadline by the rebuilding Cavaliers, who snagged his replacement by trading for Andre Drummond.

However, a source tells Grange that neither side plans to pursue a buyout. The Cavs want to hold onto Thompson’s Bird rights for a potential sign-and-trade this summer, while the veteran center believes his best chance to secure a new contract above the mid-level exception is to play out his current deal.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Drummond made two 3-pointers in his debut with the Cavaliers, more than in any of the 591 games he played for the Pistons, but coach John Beilein doesn’t sound ready to endorse the idea of Drummond as a long distance shooter, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “When they go in, it’s always OK,” Beilein said. “But I think I have to understand who he is a little more. I know he had tried a few, he didn’t shoot any against us I don’t think in any of our games, but if you have a five that can shoot it, it does help a great deal. I think it’s still under some type of watch to see whether we’re going to continue to allow it.”
  • Even though he wasn’t an original choice for the Rising Stars game, the decision to have Collin Sexton replace Tyler Herro on the U.S. roster validates the progress he has made this season, Fedor adds in a separate story. Sexton has been the target of criticism since he came into the league, Fedor notes, and there were suggestions that the Cavaliers should try to trade him before last week’s deadline. However, Sexton has cut down on his turnovers and leads the team in scoring at 19.7 PPG, which ranks third among second-year players behind Trae Young and Luka Doncic.
  • Despite a 13-40 record, general manager Koby Altman tells Fedor he considers this season to be a success because of the development by Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. “If we’re gauging the success of those guys, I’m in a good space,” Altman said. “I’m excited about our future because of where they’ve come from Day One — first game of the season to where they are now and where they’re going.”

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Sexton, McKinnie, Bolden

Heading into the trade deadline, no Pistons player had been with the team longer than Reggie Jackson — except for Andre Drummond. So when Detroit swung a deal that sent Drummond to the Cavaliers, it made sense that Jackson would be among those most affected by the move.

“He was my best friend on the team and it’s been like that for five-and-a-half years. He acclimated me when I first got to Detroit and we built a great friendship and brotherhood,” Jackson said of Drummond, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “That’s my guy forever, so it was a tough day seeing he got traded to the Cavs but wishing him nothing but the best for him and his family.”

As Drummond gets acclimated to his new home in Cleveland, here are a few more Cavaliers-related notes:

  • Second-year Cavs guard Collin Sexton has been added to the U.S. roster for the Rising Stars game in Chicago this weekend, the league announced today. Sexton will replace Heat guard Tyler Herro, who is nursing a right foot injury.
  • Alfonzo McKinnie‘s new four-year contract with the Cavaliers includes a $1.5MM guaranteed salary for the 2019/20 season, according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter link). That’s significantly more than the $623K McKinnie would have received had he signed a prorated minimum deal. And that’s likely a big reason why he was willing to tack on three team-friendly, non-guaranteed years at the minimum. Cleveland was able to exceed the minimum and go up to four years using the mid-level exception.
  • Following the expiration of his 10-day contract with the Cavaliers, Marques Bolden rejoined the team’s G League affiliate, the Canton Charge, per JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Since Bolden just signed a single 10-day deal with Cleveland, he’d be eligible to sign a second one between now and the end of the regular season.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Thompson, Lue, Post-LeBron Era

Andre Drummond thought he was being pranked when he heard about the trade to the Cavaliers, but now he’s excited for the opportunity, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond went through his first practice with the team yesterday and is expected to make his debut tonight.

“I was truly excited to be somewhere I’m wanted, really happy to start a new chapter here,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to being with the guys. I’m just looking forward to playing in a Cleveland Cavalier jersey. Everything happens for a reason. I look at it as a bright note for me, for my family to start somewhere new and be with a great group of guys.”

Drummond quickly acclimated himself to his new surroundings, Fedor states. His new teammates were welcoming, including Tristan Thompson, who will move to the bench as Drummond becomes the starting center.

“I’m not taking anybody’s job, I’m just here to play,” Drummond said. “I didn’t come here expecting anything. I’m just here to do my job, whatever they need me to do, I’ll get it done.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The chance to add Drummond didn’t arise until Wednesday night, Fedor relays in a separate story. Cavs general manager Koby Altman told his staff to think about it overnight, and the consensus was that the price — the expiring contracts of John Henson and Brandon Knight plus a future second-round pick — was too good to refuse. “I’m sure Detroit has a plan in place in terms of what they want to do either with their cap space or with their future trajectory as a franchise, but our job is to make sure we’re exploring every opportunity out there and making sure we’re doing what’s best for our franchise,” Altman said. “Adding a talent of this magnitude is something that we couldn’t pass up and he also fits our timeline in terms of his age — he’s 26 years old — so he fits with some of our younger guys.”
  • As Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue prepares to return to Cleveland tonight, he tells Joe Vardon of The Athletic that he wishes he could still be coaching the Cavaliers. “What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together,” Lue said. “Koby being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the (NBA) Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.”
  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic examines why the Cavs have struggled so much after losing LeBron James for a second time, when they were believed to be in a better position than in 2010.

Drummond Likely To Opt In; Cavs Won’t Mind

Andre Drummond is likely to opt in for next season and the Cavaliers won’t mind if he remains off the free agent market, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Drummond, who was dealt by the Pistons for the expiring contracts of Brandon Knight and John Henson and a second-round pick, was expected to leave $28.75MM on the table and test a weak free agent market. However, the possibility of Drummond opting in convinced Detroit to trade him. Sam Amico of SI.com also reported earlier today that Drummond is planning to opt in (Twitter link).

Cleveland was aware that Drummond might do so but made the deal with the intention of keeping the league’s premier rebounder around beyond this season.

“I think in terms of his age and what he brings to our team, absolutely we consider him a potential long-term play,” Cavaliers GM Koby Altman said. “Obviously, he has a player option that if he picks up, we think we’re in good shape to assume, in terms of our cap space. There’s no better money spent than Andre Drummond if he picks up his option, so with the player option or not, we have flexibility and optionality moving forward.”

We have more on Cleveland’s acquisition of Drummond:

  • The Cavs have had their eyes on Drummond for awhile after seeing him in the division four times a season, ESPN’s Eric Woodyard relays. Cleveland believes he’ll fit in well with its young core. “Adding a talent of this magnitude is something that we couldn’t pass up, and he also fits our timeline in terms of his age,” Altman said. “He’s 26 years old, so I think he fits with some of our younger guys and our timeline, so when the opportunity arose, we jumped on it, and here we are.”
  • Drummond is represented by Jeff Schwartz, the agent who represents power forward Kevin Love, and that’s not necessarily a good thing, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes. Love’s unhappiness with the organization is well documented, which means Drummond already knows plenty about Love’s grievances, Lloyd points out.
  • The Cavaliers could have ensured themselves approximately $40MM in cap space this summer by not making this deal but there was no one else in the market worth spending their money on, Lloyd notes in the same piece. They might use same strategy they did with Love and offer to overpay him with a long-term contract in an effort to convince Drummond to stay long term, Lloyd adds.