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Report: Cavaliers sitting Andre Drummond as they seek trade

Cavaliers center Andre Drummond

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 8: Andre Drummond #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Phoenix Suns on February 8, 2021 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. 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 2021 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The writing was on the wall as soon as the Cavaliers traded for Jarrett Allen:

Andre Drummond was no longer Cleveland’s center of the future.

The Cavs had been trying to compete this season, and Drummond was helping. But they’ve lost seven straight – including to the Clippers yesterday without Drummond – and fallen to 10-18 and 12th in the Eastern Conference. Priorities are shifting in Cleveland.

Which means a Drummond trade – or buyout? – now appears imminent.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Multiple sources told The Athletic that Drummond was pulled from the lineup also in part due to his “attitude and play” recently, and sources say Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff has had multiple sit-down conversations with the big man.
The Raptors and Cavaliers are engaged in active talks on a deal that would send Drummond to Toronto/Tampa, sources tell The Athletic.

Josh Lewenberg of TSN:

Drummond, who’s averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, is a helpful but limited player. He’s excellent on the glass, but his defense is merely so-so. Though he can score inside, the 27-year-old isn’t the above-the-rim finisher he once was. His offensive ambitions outpace his offensive ability.

A big impediment to a trade: Drummond’s $28,751,774 salary (on an expiring contract). It will be difficult for some teams to match that without including players more valuable than Drummond.

Including the Raptors.

Perhaps, Toronto could acquire Drummond if trading Kyle Lowry. But if going that direction, would the Raptors still want Drummond? Plus, it’d likely have to be a multi-team trade. The Cavs probably wouldn’t want the older Lowry.

Cleveland is rebuilding around guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, forward Isaac Okoro and Allen. In that process, culture is a priority.

The Cavaliers already excommunicated Kevin Porter Jr. before ultimately trading him to the Rockets. Now, the Cavs are benching Drummond with attitude reportedly a concern. That’ll only further depress Drummond’s trade value.

There’s still more than a month for Cleveland to find a trade. It’s definitely possible.

But with no deal imminent, it’s reasonable to wonder whether a buyout is the eventual outcome. Buyout rumors have already swirled, with Drummond linked to the Nets. He’d look far more appealing on a cheap contract rather than his $28,751,774 salary.

Still, it takes only one team to trade for him. On the other hand: One team that needs a center and can absorb that large contract. That’s not a long list.

The Cavaliers ought to have a realistic sense of the market considering how little it took to get Drummond from the Pistons in the first place.