At this point, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 10-13, and even despite a litony of injuries, particularly earlier on in the season, that’s been fairly encouraging.
The Cavs have gotten 24.0 points per game from Collin Sexton, who, though, he’s cooled off some since his outburst versus the Brooklyn Nets after returning from a five-game absence from a left ankle sprain, has still been largely key.
He would seem to have a legitimate All-Star case, and his 4.1 assists per contest thus far have been a plus, albeit lately, one would like to see him cut down on turnovers.
The play of Darius Garland, whose seemed to have gotten himself fully back after missing eight games because of a right shoulder sprain, has been a plus, too.
Anyhow, in a general sense, though, the Cavaliers defense has been big for them to this point, and Sexton, to an extent, and Damyean Dotson somewhat have played into that.
Key contributors have definitely included bigs, though, in Andre Drummond, and Larry Nance Jr., whose done a very commendable job mostly in an interim starting 4 role with Kevin Love sidelined because of a high grade calf strain in which reaggravated and has been sidelined since Dec. 27.
Drummond and Nance have aided the Cavs, again, along with others some, in having Cleveland currently the league’s seventh-best defensive rating.
Drummond has also been a significant offensive contributor, and has had a career-high with 18.2 points per game thus far, and his efforts on the interior played into the Cavs willing home some wins early on. Drummond is, at the moment, second in the NBA in rebounding as well, at a current clip of 14.3 boards per outing.
That being said, it’s clear that some of Drummond’s rebounding totals, offensively, really, have been misleading a bit because of his lack of touch around the rim, and routinely missing looks inside the restricted area, or near it.
And it’s been somewhat frustrating that Drummond, who is a big dude at 6-foot-10 and 279 pounds, is not nearly the on/off-ball screener he could be, although in Cleveland’s loss versus the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, we did see that more.
Far too frequently game-to-game, though, instead he’s needed so many post-ups, leading to lack of flow. While he’s done a nice job in some games with those, it’s been hot and cold, and those type of plays have often led to turnovers, some to offensive fouls or just shots with no chance.
Whereas it’s glaringly apparent that when Jarrett Allen, who was acquired via trade from the Brooklyn Nets last month, has been on the floor, to a large degree, there’s been far better offensive flow. Allen’s willingness as a screener has led to easy assists for Darius Garland and Collin Sexton in the pick-and-roll, too, and Allen, unlike Drummond, doesn’t need frequent post touches.
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Anyway, what’s no secret at this point is that Drummond could seemingly be dealt by the league’s March 25 trade deadline, per reports/rumors, and Allen is Cleveland’s long-term future at the 5, and Drummond is on an expiring contract.
In that realm regarding Drummond, per a report from Sam Amico of OutKick and Forty Eight Minutes, the Cavaliers are looking to deal Drummond by the deadline, and when he is healthy, the same will be the case involving Kevin Love. Albeit dealing Love, given his injury history and contract, seems unlikely during this season, quite frankly.
In terms of more Cavs rumors relating to Drummond trade-related stuff, though, eight NBA executives reportedly gave their thoughts involving what Drummond’s possible trade value might be recently, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
Cavs rumors involving potential Drummond trades seem to indiciate his trade value varies, depending on who you ask, really.
It’s again, apparent that Drummond trade rumors aren’t going to be at all shocking looking onward, and in response to a potential return, Scotto noted how four executives believe Cleveland “could get one or two second-round picks” for Dre. For reference, the Cavs at the last deadline sent out two expirings and a then-2023 second rounder to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Drummond.
In regards to two others, they believe that the Cavaliers could “squeeze” out a low first-rounder, potentially, for Drummond, per Scotto’s report.
“They might be able to get a protected first-round pick because it’s an expiring contract, but matching the money on any deal for Drummond will be hard for a contending team,” another Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “A rebuilding team would probably have room this summer that they can use to sign him. They wouldn’t want to give up a first or any pick to get him if they are rebuilding.”
“Might only be a second-round pick, which is sad for how productive he is,” one Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “Maybe in the right deal where someone was getting off money and needed another center, they could get a first-round pick.”
Two other NBA execs polled by Scotto believe that Dre will get a buyout following the deadline, but as Scotto emphasized, the Cavs don’t intend to buy him out. And frankly, as Scotto also hit on, Drummond taking a buyout wouldn’t be a wise move heading into a crucial unrestricted free agency this offseason for him.
Anyhow, when it comes to Drummond, we’ll again have to see what eventually plays out with him, and Cavs rumors involving them potentially moving him will be here to stay. That’s nothing that’s unexpected, though, and regarding two suitors, as of recently, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported how he’s “heard” the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors have interest in Drummond.
Now, the Cavaliers could potentially, if they remain firmly in the playoff hunt in the East, just keep Drummond through the season, even, and just have him sign elsewhere this offseason.
That could be sensible, perhaps, and Drummond being set to make $28.8 million isn’t making a deal the simplest thing in the world. But if they were able to receive two future second-round picks or a late first-round pick, to go with near-salary matching, with potentially a player that’s due to be an expiring contract after next season, for instance, I couldn’t blame the Cavs for taking that.
And dealing Drummond could enable Cleveland to get Allen starting minutes earlier on, and could help their floor spacing.
As long as Drummond is still with the Cavs, though, if they can find a way to get him to buy into being more of a roller, or post up closer to the basket more than in some other instances, he could be more effective. He’d be more of a productive counter to Allen’s style.
We’ll ultimately have to see what plays out, however. But it was interesting to learn about what a number of opposing NBA execs believe Drummond’s potential trade value is.