Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond Believes He Has Hall Of Fame Case

Appearing on The Comfortable Pod (YouTube link) with Marcus Bagley, Bulls center Andre Drummond was asked about the hiatus he took last season for mental health reasons and admitted that he has found it challenging to go from a franchise player in Detroit to a little-used reserve within the last few years.

While it sounds like the veteran big man has come to terms with his role in Chicago heading into 2023/24, the conversation led to a discussion about Drummond’s professional résumé and his place in NBA history. He was an All-Star in 2016 and 2018, made an All-NBA team in ’16, led the league in rebounds per game four times, is the NBA’s all-time leader in rebound percentage, and won a World Cup gold medal with Team USA in 2014.

“I used to play 40-plus minutes. I was a star — All-Star, All-NBA, I’ve done it. Hall of Fame candidate, best rebounder ever,” Drummond said (hat tip to NBC Sports). “… I’ve done great in my career. I think I have a chance to be a Hall of Fame player due to what I’ve done in my career. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m in the top 20 for being in the Hall of Fame, so I have a great chance.”

Asked where he’d rank himself compared to other centers in NBA history, Drummond replied, “I’d give myself top 30, top 20. I don’t see why not. I’ve done amazing things in my career.”

Given that Drummond – who is still just 30 years old – averaged a career-low 12.7 minutes per game for the Bulls last season, it may seem outlandish on the surface to consider him a Hall of Fame candidate. But his claim that he’s the best rebounder the NBA has ever seen isn’t without merit.

Drummond has averaged 12.7 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game across 785 career appearances. Dennis Rodman, widely considered the NBA’s greatest rebounder, averaged 13.1 in 31.7 minutes per night (911 games). The two men rank first and second in league history in rebound percentage, with Drummond (24.85%) comfortably ahead of Rodman (23.44%), for now.

Of course, while he has always excelled as a rebounder, Drummond hasn’t necessarily been elite in other areas of the game. He’s a solid scorer and defender around the basket, but has seen his role reduced in recent years because he doesn’t stretch the floor on offense and isn’t particularly switchable on defense. He also doesn’t have the sort of postseason accolades that bolster a Hall of Fame case — his teams have won just two games in four playoff appearances.

In an earlier era, when NBA teams were built around traditional centers, Drummond would have been in a better position to enjoy a Hall of Fame career. He could still have several more seasons ahead of him to continue building his résumé, but his case will be harder to make in the modern-day game.

Bulls Notes: Luxury Tax, Rotation, Williams, Dosunmu

The Bulls will likely be close to the luxury tax threshold all season, but K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago doesn’t expect them to be willing to end the year in tax territory. Executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas said on draft night that he would lobby ownership to pay the tax for a contender, but Johnson states that it’s hard to see him getting approval for a team that finished 10th in the East last season.

Johnson estimates that the Bulls are about $2.4MM away from tax territory with two open roster spots. He expects the team to unload point guard Carlik Jones, whose non-guaranteed $1.9MM salary is roughly the same as a veteran’s minimum contract, and try to get frontcourt help instead.

Johnson adds that filling both roster openings with minimum contracts would put Chicago slightly over the tax line. He expects management to keep one spot open heading into the season and see what opportunities become available to add players. The Bulls have about half of their $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception remaining, along with a $4.5MM bi-annual exception and a $10.2MM disabled player exception that was granted for Lonzo Ball‘s injury.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Billy Donovan‘s 10-man rotation appears set with training camp two months away, and the biggest questions seem to be who will start at point guard and power forward, Johnson adds in the same piece. If Donovan continues his emphasis on defense, Johnson expects newly acquired Torrey Craig to get the nod at power forward, with either Alex Caruso or free agent addition Jevon Carter running the point. The return of Derrick Jones Jr. or a free agent signing such as Rudy Gay could upend the current rotation, Johnson adds, possibly pushing out Andre Drummond.
  • Bulls officials want Patrick Williams to become more aggressive as he enters his fourth NBA season, according to Johnson. Williams returned from an injury to play all 82 games last season, and Johnson believes the organization should be patient with a player who won’t turn 22 until next month.
  • The Bulls may have slightly overpaid for Ayo Dosunmu, but keeping him on the roster was still a good move, contends Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The restricted free agent received $21MM over three years and now has to make a case for consistent playing time in a crowded backcourt.

Stein’s Latest: Mavs, D. Powell, VanVleet, Schröder, D. Hall

The Mavericks “fully intend” to re-sign center Dwight Powell in free agency, Marc Stein reports in his latest rumor round-up at Substack. According to Stein, the Cavaliers and Rockets are also expected to show interest in Powell once he hits the open market, but the Mavs value him both on and off the court and are confident about their chances to retain him.

With Powell, Richaun Holmes, and lottery pick Dereck Lively II expected to be in the mix at center in Dallas, it didn’t make sense for Andre Drummond to turn down his player option with the Bulls in the hopes of signing with the Mavericks, Stein explains, following up on a previous rumor. If the Mavs had been able to trade Holmes, it might’ve been a different story, but Drummond opted for the guaranteed money and a clearer path to rotation minutes in Chicago.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Fred VanVleet‘s current plan is to meet with both the Raptors and Rockets in person in Los Angeles when free agency opens on Friday, Stein tweets, reiterating in today’s article that Houston looks like a serious threat to sign the point guard away from Toronto.
  • The Lakers are “eager” to bring back point guard Dennis Schröder and would like to give him a raise, but will have a limited ability to do so with his Non-Bird rights. Echoing ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Stein says there’s a scenario in which Los Angeles commits a portion of its mid-level exception to Schröder and uses the rest on another player.
  • Former NBA big man Donta Hall, who is in the midst of a multiyear contract with AS Monaco in Europe, has an NBA opt-out in his deal and is attracting some interest from teams stateside, according to Stein, who names the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers as a couple of the clubs eyeing Hall.
  • One Western Conference front office executive was surprised by how many potential free agents exercised their player options. “I’ve never seen this many good players opt in,” the executive told Stein.

Bulls’ Andre Drummond Opts In For 2023/24

Bulls center Andre Drummond has exercised his player option for 2023/24, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The move will guarantee Drummond a $3.36MM salary for next season.

Drummond, who will turn 30 in August, put up big numbers on a per-minute basis as a reserve center for the Bulls in 2022/23, averaging 6.0 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 12.7 minutes per game (67 games).

However, for the first time in his 11-year NBA career, Drummond didn’t make a single start, playing a limited role behind primary center Nikola Vucevic. His scoring and rebounding averages were career lows, as were his 12.7 minutes per night.

While Drummond might be the NBA’s best rebounder and can certainly score around the basket, the rest of his offensive game is limited, and he’s not a mobile defensive player or an elite rim protector. Once a maximum-salary player, the two-time All-Star presumably determined that he wasn’t assured of topping a $3.36MM guarantee on the open market and chose the safety of the opt-in.

It’s unclear whether Drummond remains in Chicago’s plans for 2023/24 or whether the team will look to trade his expiring contract. A report on Thursday morning indicated that the Mavericks were eyeing the veteran center, but Marc Stein later clarified (via Twitter) that Dallas’ interest was contingent on a separate trade that hadn’t happened yet.

Drummond is one of two Bulls veterans who had player option decisions to make this month. While the big man is picking up his $3.36MM option, Derrick Jones elected to turn down an identical $3.36MM option of his own.

Stein’s Latest: Barnes, Reaves, Rockets, Harden, Irving, More

The Pacersinterest in signing Max Strus may be an indication that free agent forward Harrison Barnes will remain with the Kings, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

Stein reported recently that Indiana was interested in adding Barnes, who has huge supporters in Rick Carlisle, his former coach in Dallas, and Tyrese Haliburton, his ex-teammate in Sacramento. However, the Pacers only have $30MM in cap space, and Stein assumes Barnes is no longer in their plans if they’re preparing an offer for Strus in the $16MM range.

Sacramento radio host Carmichael Dave tweets that Barnes’ return to the Kings is “picking up major steam,” but the final details of a new contract still have to be worked out.

Stein offers inside information on a few more free agents:

  • Even though the Lakers are reported to have significant interest in Bruce Brown, Stein believes somebody will offer the Nuggets free agent more than the mid-level exception. L.A. appears certain to match any offer for restricted free agent Austin Reaves, who is eligible for nearly $102MM over four years from a rival team. A source told Stein that it should be considered an “automatic match.”
  • Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks are increasingly expected to commit to the Rockets shortly after the start of free agency, according to Stein, who says there would be “legitimate leaguewide surprise” if it doesn’t happen. Stein hears that Brooks will likely get a two-year contract with an annual salary in the $14-16MM range, while Houston is prepared to make a two-year, maximum-salary offer of $83.6MM for VanVleet. Stein states that the Rockets are confident new coach Ime Udoka can maximize Brooks’ game while limiting his excesses, while VanVleet is viewed as a leader and culture setter for a young roster.
  • The “prevailing expectation” is that Sixers guard James Harden and Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving will re-sign with their current teams, according to Stein. He added that it remains difficult to project the length and dollar value of their new contracts as of Thursday morning.
  • According to Stein, multiple rival teams expect Andre Drummond to join the Mavericks, who added two new centers last week by drafting Dereck Lively II and trading for Richaun Holmes. Sources tell Stein that free agent Christian Wood and JaVale McGee are no longer in the team’s plans, though McGee has one more guaranteed year left on his contract, along with a $6MM player option for 2024/25.
  • Free agent guard Damion Lee is considered likely to sign a new deal with the Suns, Stein adds.

Central Notes: Allen, Weaver, Bogdanovic, Drummond

Grayson Allen could return for the Bucks‘ first playoff game, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Coach Mike Budenholzer addressed Allen’s injury situation on Tuesday and said it all depends on how much Allen, who has a right ankle sprain, can do in practices leading up to the postseason. A promising MRI added to the encouragement that Allen can come back in the opening round.

“If everything kind of went perfect, I think there are scenarios where he could be available for the first (playoff) game,” the Bucks’ coach said.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It’s been another miserable season for the Pistons, who seem destined to have the league’s worst record. GM Troy Weaver penned a letter to Pistons fans in a press release, saying they’re on the “right path to success” with the young players they have and the changes that are coming. “We are in an excellent spot to upgrade our roster this offseason,” Weaver wrote. “We’ve positioned ourselves for another high draft choice in this year’s draft, we have a favorable salary cap position, and we’ll continue to talk with teams and evaluate trade opportunities as they present themselves.”
  • The Pistons have unofficially shut down leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic for the season due to an Achilles injury but Bogdanovic has been active in other ways with the team, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. “He’s still in our meetings, in our practice, shootarounds, he’s still involved,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He gives opinions in our film sessions. If our older players see anything, they speak because they’ve been through it.”
  • Bulls center Andre Drummond missed a game last week “to clear my mind,” according to The Associated Press. “I had to take some time away to really clear my mind and address some things that I’d been neglecting for a while,” he said. “I feel OK. Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do with my mental. But we have a job to do. And that’s to win basketball games and get to the playoffs.”

Bulls Notes: Drummond, Caruso, Free Agency, Dosunmu

Andre Drummond returned to the Bulls on Friday night after spending a few days away for mental health reasons, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The veteran center made an immediate impact, grabbing 11 rebounds in 14 minutes in a win over Charlotte. After the game, he expressed thanks to his teammates for understanding his situation.

“Felt good to be back on the floor again,” Drummond said. “My guys rallied behind me, just gave me a lot of support when I came back in here. It definitely boosted my energy. I still have a lot to deal with, a lot to tackle in my own personal life. But it’s good to be back on the floor again.”

Drummond missed just one game during his absence, sitting out Wednesday’s contest against the Lakers for personal reasons. He’s averaging 6.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per night this season, and his board work will be needed for Chicago to advance past the play-in tournament.

There’s more on the Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso was able to play his second straight game Friday, but his sprained left foot remains a concern, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. The team is keeping Caruso away from contact during practices, and coach Billy Donovan pulled him from Wednesday’s game at halftime because the foot appeared to be bothering him. “Alex doesn’t complain,” Donovan said. “He doesn’t say anything. I can just tell, the way he’s moving. Alex will give everything he’s got. But he’s going to have to deal with this. It’s going to be an ongoing challenge for him the rest of the year. He tries to fight through it the best that he can.”
  • Luxury tax considerations will weigh heavily on the Bulls’ free agency decisions, Johnson states in a mailbag column. The tax line for next season is projected at $162MM, and the team already has about $111.5MM committed to six players. Drummond and Derrick Jones Jr. could raise that total to $118MM if they both pick up their player options. That leaves a limited amount to offer Nikola Vucevic and Coby White unless the front office can unload some other salaries.
  • Ayo Dosunmu has put up similar numbers to last season when he was considered a draft steal, but his impact hasn’t felt the same, Johnson adds. Dosunmu, White and Patrick Beverley will all be free agents this summer, and Johnson doesn’t expect all three to return.

Central Notes: Drummond, G. Allen, Mobley, Casey

After Bulls center Andre Drummond posted on Twitter on Tuesday that he was deleting his social media apps in order to “focus on my mental health,” he was listed as out for Wednesday’s game vs. the Lakers for personal reasons.

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he sent a text message to Drummond to let him know “we’re all here to try to help him.” Donovan added that there’s optimism that the big man will be with the team when it travels to Charlotte for a Friday game against the Hornets.

“Your heart goes out for anybody. I think a lot of times as we come here and play games, there’s also a human side and personal side to all these guys. And you feel bad when anybody is going through something like that,” Donovan said. “I think you try to give as much support as you can. We have the resources inside the organization to help.”

Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is among the NBA players who have spoken in recent years about dealing with mental health issues and depression. DeRozan said his approach with Drummond will be to give him space but let him know he’s available if his teammate wants to talk.

“Give him my positive words and let him know we’re all there for him,” DeRozan said. “That’s the most we can do. Allow him to open up on his terms.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bucks guard Grayson Allen earned a $425K bonus when he appeared in his 70th game of the season on Wednesday night, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Because Allen only played 66 games in 2021/22, that bonus has been considered unlikely, but it will now be considered likely in 2023/24, bumping his cap hit for next season from $8.5MM to $8.925MM.
  • Michael Pina of The Ringer takes an in-depth look at Evan Mobley‘s trajectory toward stardom, exploring the ongoing development and potential ceiling of the Cavaliers big man. “It’s rare to find somebody so mature right away on both ends of the court,” teammate Ricky Rubio said of Mobley. “I wouldn’t be surprised if his career ended up in the Hall of Fame.”
  • In a pair of mailbags for The Athletic, James L. Edwards fields Pistons-related questions on potential trade targets, the team’s crowded frontcourt, Dwane Casey‘s future, and much more. Regarding Casey, Edwards believes it’s more likely than not that the veteran coach will be back for next season, perhaps with a mandate to at least make the play-in tournament in 2023/24.

Nets Notes: Depth, Mills, Thomas, Drummond

The NetsKevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades earlier this month significantly reduced the team’s star power but have created a deeper roster, resulting in difficult decisions for head coach Jacque Vaughn, as Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post writes.

With Seth Curry back in action on Wednesday following a five-game absence due to a left adductor strain, the Vaughn and the Nets employed a 10-man rotation that left out a couple players who have had regular roles for much of the season. As Sanchez writes, there was no room in that 10-man rotation for Edmond Sumner or Yuta Watanabe in addition to Day’Ron Sharpe or Patty Mills.

Vaughn is happy to use 10 of the Nets’ 14 players (not counting two-ways) for the time being, but expects to tighten the rotation further this spring.

“We’re playing 10 guys right now,” Vaughn said on Wednesday. “Eventually that’s going to whittle down to nine or eight as you get into the playoffs, but I think that’s the biggest thing is being able to utilize the depth.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Although he’s one of the odd men out of the Nets’ new rotation, Mills said he likes the look of the roster in the wake of the trade deadline and remains confident in the team’s chances to make the playoffs. In a conversation with Ian Begley of, the veteran guard made multiple references to the character of the locker room and the off-court bonds between Nets players. “Genuinely, you look around the room and we’ve just got really solid dudes,” Mills said. “(Potential) friendships, (where) you can talk and you can go outside of the basketball court, which I think at the end of the day makes a real impact on what we can do on the court.”
  • Given the opportunity to take on a larger role, Nets guard Cam Thomas scored 134 points in a three-game span earlier this month, but he has seen his minutes dip again within the last week, averaging just 19.8 MPG in Brooklyn’s last three games. Thomas, who expressed frustration with his limited playing time early in the season, doesn’t sound thrilled about once again taking a step back, Sanchez writes for The New York Post. “It’s tough,” Thomas said. “From doing one thing and trying to adjust to the team because that’s just what you got to do. It’s tough for sure. So just got to figure it out.”
  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Bulls center Andre Drummond admitted that he would’ve liked to re-sign with the Nets as a free agent last summer, but turned to the “next best option” when things didn’t work out with Brooklyn. “I definitely wanted to come back, but I think they were going in a different direction, so there was nothing I could really do about that,” said Drummond, who was the Nets’ starting center down the stretch and in the playoffs last spring.

Bulls Notes: Deadline, Vucevic, Caruso, Green, Drummond

The Bulls remain unlikely to trade away one of their “Big Three” in the next few days, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The front office is committed to seeing how the current group will finish out the season, despite a relatively disappointing 26-28 record thus far.

Part of the reason for that is the Bulls owe their 2023 first-round pick (top-four protected) to the Magic, so even if they bottomed out for the rest of 2022/23, they’d likely just be sending a better pick to Orlando unless they had some major lottery luck. They also haven’t received any “substantive, serious offers” for DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine or Nikola Vucevic, a source tells Johnson.

Vucevic theoretically would be the most likely trade candidate, as he’s on an expiring contract. But Johnson says Chicago is confident it can re-sign the veteran center, who is averaging 17.8 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 3.4 APG on .524/.359/.833 shooting through 53 games (33.8 MPG).

Here’s more from Chicago:

  • DeRozan was sidelined for Tuesday’s game in Memphis due to a hip injury, as Bulls radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky relays (via Twitter). Alex Caruso, who had missed the previous two games with a sprained foot, took DeRozan’s place in the starting lineup. DeRozan missed three games last month with hip soreness, so it’s not a new issue.
  • Head coach Billy Donovan says VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas takes a big-picture approach to evaluating the Bulls, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “I don’t think that he would isolate eight or 10 games and not look at — like, I think Arturas, quite honestly, he’s looking at it from the All-Star break last year. Where I think we were, I don’t know, maybe tied for first or second going into the break. And then looking at the break from there. … So I think he’ll look and evaluate our team from after the All-Star break all the way through this,” he said.
  • Donovan also gave an update on Javonte Green, Mayberry adds. Green has been slow to recover from last month’s arthroscopic knee surgery. “He’s not running right now. He’s biking,” Donovan said. “He can do stationary shooting, but they haven’t done anything dynamically with him, lateral or straight-ahead running or any of that stuff. But he continues to progress. The All-Star break coming up will be another important period for him, that week. But he’s getting closer and closer to doing more.” When asked if Green was behind schedule, Donovan said that wasn’t the case. “From everything that I’ve heard, at least at this point, he is on schedule,” Donovan said, per Mayberry. “I haven’t heard of any setbacks or anything like that. … It’s a little bit of time before he comes back.”
  • Andre Drummond is one player who could be on the trading block. He’s earning $3.2MM in 2022/23 and has a $3.36MM player option for ’23/24. The veteran center has been in and out of Donovan’s rotation this season, but he had a big game in Monday’s victory over San Antonio, posting 21 points (on 9-of-9 shooting), 15 rebounds and three steals in just 21 minutes, notes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “It says a lot about him. It just shows how truly professional he is,” Vucevic said. “When you’re not playing in the rotation, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused and stay locked in. He’s been doing that this whole season, working before and after practice, extra work just to make sure to stay in shape. He played a huge role for us.”