Andre Drummond has not played for the Cleveland Cavaliers since February 12th. Not because he is hurt but because the Cavaliers have no use for him anymore. Drummond is not a part of Cleveland’s future, especially with Jarrett Allen in town. Sitting a player of Drummond’s status might be a bad look, and the move is questionable considering their current backup center is JaVale McGee.
The reason Drummond is sitting is not that the Cavaliers are trying to tank (they would start him if that was the case). It is because they want him to be healthy as they look for a potential trade partner or a future buyout. If the latter does occur, it is likely that Drummond’s team of choice is the Los Angeles Lakers. So let’s look at the steps that would have to occur for this to happen and examine if Drummond on the Lakers makes sense.
The main issue is his salary. Drummond is in the final year of his contract and is making over $28 million. The fact that he is expiring is a plus and makes trading him somewhat viable. However, his salary makes it much more problematic. No rebuilding team is going to trade for him because he is a veteran who wants to be on a winning team. While no contending team can feasibly trade for him because they do not have the cap space or the proper contracts to match Drummond’s huge salary.
The only playoff team that has a hole at center and can feasibly trade for Drummond is the Boston Celtics. So unless Danny Ainge decides to splash on a center, it is more than likely that the March 25th deadline passes with Drummond still stuck in Cleveland.
This leads to the most likely outcome, Drummond getting bought out. If he is still on the Cavaliers roster at the end of March that will mean the Cleveland front office has only two choices; play him or buy him out. It wouldn’t make sense to waste a roster spot on someone who isn’t going to play, especially when buying out Drummond would save the Cavaliers a few million dollars. With that being the case, a Drummond buyout, like Thanos, is inevitable.
There is a strong possibility that this former all-star center is suiting up for the purple and gold by April Fools Day. This makes a lot of sense from Drummond’s perspective. He gets to play for the marquee NBA franchise, be on a title contender, and play with one of his closest NBA friends in Anthony Davis. However, this move makes a lot less sense for the Lakers.
The Lakers do not really need a center. They already have Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, both of whom are superior to Drummond. Not to mention that Davis will be playing a lot of center come playoff time. Adding talent when you can is always a good idea. Especially at such a low risk like a veteran’s minimum. However, using a roster spot on someone who will only get spot minutes like Drummond is not very logical.
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