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Andre Drummond on Nets: ‘If we’re all being honest, I’m only here til the rest of the season’

Nets center Andre Drummond

BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 27: Andre Drummond #0 of the Brooklyn Nets arrives to the arena before the game against the Charlotte Hornets on March 27, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Nets center Andre Drummond gave the Heat deuces.

Will he peace out from Brooklyn next?

Drummond, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News:

“And if we’re all being honest, I’m only here til the rest of the season,” he said
“So who knows what’s gonna happen in the offseason?

When Drummond joined the Lakers after a Cavaliers buyout last season, it seemed there were plans for him to stay long-term in Los Angeles. But his presence disrupted chemistry then he got benched in the playoffs. Drummond signed with the 76ers last summer.

Traded from Philadelphia to Brooklyn this season, Drummond might be overcorrecting to assume he won’t stick with his new team after another in-season move.

Over the cap, the Nets have limited avenues for re-signing Drummond. They could use the non-Bird exception (projected to be about $3 million) or taxpayer mid-level exception (projected to be about $6 million). But Drummond might eye a high salary.

Perhaps, Drummond just knows he doesn’t want to be in Brooklyn for whatever reason(s). If so, he can leave as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

But if he’s assuming he’ll draw a higher salary elsewhere, he might be in for a surprise. Though Drummond has produced well for Brooklyn so far, teams are increasingly adept at exploiting limited centers like him in the playoffs. That’s a key reason his tenure with the Lakers soured. The NBA is oversaturated with solid centers. It’s tough for unexceptional centers to separate themselves and draw large contracts. After all, there are reasons Drummond just signed with the 76ers for the minimum.

Of course, Brooklyn must want Drummond back to re-sign him. The Nets – whose championship-contention status and market are draws – could use their MLE on someone better or at another position. They have LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Claxton and Blake Griffin at center. With such a high payroll, Brooklyn could also forgo using the mid-level exception. But the Nets targeted Drummond because his size provides an element they’d otherwise lack.

Playing the odds, there are 29 other teams Drummond could sign with to only one Brooklyn. But, unless Drummond is already set on leaving, I don’t see him re-signing with the Nets to be quite as inconceivable as he says.