2021 Trade Deadline

Andre Drummond's trade fate still largely up in air

A trade or buyout of the former All-Star are reportedly both options on the table as the 3 p.m. deadline nears.

From NBA.com News Services

Andre Drummond has not played in a game for the Cavs since February.

Andre Drummond has not played in a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers since Feb. 21, the date on which the team decided it would not be keeping him past this season. Since then, his name has come up in trade rumors regularly and that is only increasing as today’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline nears.

Last night, the New York Knicks emerged as a potential destination for Andre Drummond, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. But acquiring Drummond via trade may not be the only way he moves on.

Drummond, who was averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports that, per multiple sources, a Drummond trade is a 50-50 proposition as of late Wednesday night. Fedor reported on Wednesday that Cleveland is also hoping to get at least a draft pick in return and is willing to wait all the way to the 3 p.m. deadline to get a deal done.

While a trade remains one aspect of what could happen to Drummond, the other is the buyout market — which would allow the former All-Star big man to choose his team. Per Fedor, should the buyout take place, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets would be the frontrunners for him and beat out the Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Miami Heat and others for Drummond.

With the Lakers, Drummond would have an immediate starting gig, while landing with the Nets would add star power to a lineup that already includes Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and (the recently-added) Blake Griffin. Per Fedor, the other suitors come into play in this scenario because it would allow them to simply keep Drummond away from joining either squad.

As for the Knicks’ pursuit of Drummond, trading for him would work because they don’t need to match his full salary ($28.7 million) — they’d only need to send out about $14 million. If Drummond were bought out, since the Knicks are $15 million below the cap, they could offer him more to sign there than other teams.

While the Cavs try to figure out what happens with Drummond, another veteran center on the team — JaVale McGee — could be in trade talks. Per Fedor, McGee was a healthy scratch in last night’s win against the Chicago Bulls. Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff dodged questions about McGee’s absence after the game, directing questions about that topic to GM Koby Altman.

Additionally, power forward Larry Nance Jr. has generated some trade interest around the league. But per Fedor, the Cavs aren’t interested in trading him and it would take a massive offer to change that position.

“Guys are nervous,” Nance said after Wednesday’s game, per Cleveland.com. “Guys that haven’t been through this, guys that are seeing their names involved in a lot of different things, yeah, it’s nerve-racking. At the same time, worrying about it does no good because if they want to move you, they’re gonna move you anyway. I really like this group. I hope we get to stay together. But this is a business and anybody that does get moved, if we do move somebody, I certainly won’t lose contact with him.”