Andre Drummond says he will ‘definitely’ be with Cavs in 2020-21

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond reacts in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond reacts in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

On a podcast appearance on Tuesday, Andre Drummond said that he will “definitely” be back with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2020-21, and in turn, intends to pick up his player option.

It’s hard to say at this point if Andre Drummond can be a piece that sticks around in the near future with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Drummond was acquired by Cleveland at the 2020 NBA trade deadline from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for not much at all. That involved two expiring pieces in Brandon Knight and John Henson, along with sending out what will be the lesser of two future second-round picks from the Cavs or Golden State Warriors.

There was a small sample size with Drummond on the Cavaliers in 2019-20, though. It was only eight games, due to Drummond being a bit banged up due to a left calf strain, and then the league went into a novel coronavirus-induced hiatus.

The Cavs, who had the league’s second-worst record going into the hiatus, were one of the eight teams left out of what is set to be the NBA’s 2019-20 season resumption in Orlando, too.

Granted, for a while now, it’s been reportedly likely that Drummond would opt into his $28.8 million player option for 2020-21.

In terms of the date for when that has to be the case for Drummond to do so, per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium on Tuesday, that is set for October 17.

It again has seemed like a foregone conclusion that Drummond will be back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but on Tuesday, he took that a step further.

On an appearance on Tuesday’s Le Batard & Friends-STUpodity podcast, per ESPN, in terms of next season, Drummond said he “definitely will be in Cleveland.”

When asked about it, Drummond followed up by saying this, via ESPN.

"“Yeah, it’s going to be hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said when pressed on whether he plans to exercise his option."

These comments from Drummond are no surprise whatsoever for Cavaliers fans.

Given how COVID-19 could seemingly cause the salary cap for next season to decrease further, and with Drummond not getting that sort of compensation for other squads, at least this offseason, it’d be foolish for him to not pick up that option.

Again, though, can Drummond be a long term piece for the Cavs, potentially? I’m not sure on that at this point, because Drummond is not a floor spacer, nor shooter at all, outside of short range.

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He is not a player that’s very capable of switching out on to perimeter players in pick-and-roll coverage, either.

On the plus side, though, Drummond is really productive on the interior on both ends, and he is coming off averaging a career-best 17.7 points per game in 2019-20, of which he had 17.5 per outing with Cleveland.

His low post game has been very much improved in recent seasons, and he is a high quality rolling/screening presence at 6-foot-10 and 279 pounds. That should help carve out PnR space for pieces such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and in relation to off-ball, for shooters such as Kevin Love.

Plus, Drummond is arguably the NBA’s best rebounder that led active players in 2019-20 pre-hiatus in rebounding, and if you include that from this season, he’s led the league in rebounding four times in an eight-year career.

In addition, while he again is not a player that’s a switchout big defensively, Drummond has great defensive instincts and gets deflections/steals frequently.

Going into the hiatus, Drummond was actually second in the NBA in total steals, per Basketball Reference. For a center, that was especially noteworthy, too, and coupled with that, Drummond, who has a 7-foot-6 wingspan, is a viable rim protector. That could prove to help out Garland, Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr., for instance, in a big way.

While I’m not sure yet how Drummond will be alongside Kevin Love in the frontcourt together next season for long stretches, I can understand why the Cavs initially acquired Drummond, considering they gave up little to nothing in terms of the near-future outlook.

Anyway, these comments from Drummond are far from a shocker, and though I’m not certain whether or not Drummond is a long term piece, next season it’s somewhat reassuring to know the Cavs will have at least tried to make it work.

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A sample of eight games for this sort of thing wouldn’t have brought the Cleveland Cavaliers and general manager Koby Altman any answers, and now based on these Drummond comments, we’ll have much more to go on.