Andre Drummond Opts In for 2020–21
The Cleveland Cavaliers took a chance on Andre Drummond, and for at least one more year, it looks to be paying off. The UConn alum and longtime Detroit Piston intends to accept his player option for next season. Drummond was traded from Detroit to Cleveland at the trade deadline for a 2023 2nd round pick, John Henson and Brandon Knight.
If you did a double-take at that return package, you're not alone. Since being drafted ninth overall by Detroit in 2012, Drummond has averaged 14.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. He has three rebounding titles to his name, two All-Star Game appearances and an All-NBA honor as well. Oh, and he's only 26 years old.
So how does that resume only garner a 2nd round pick? For one thing, he's a high-usage big on offense who doesn't protect the rim well on the other end. That's not a great combination at the highest levels, which we saw play out in Detroit's early postseason exits. Those playoff losses weren't totally his fault, but he wasn't blameless either.
The other factor is his contract, which has a $28.8 million player option for 2020-21. Detroit clearly didn't want to pay him, valuing that 2nd round pick and cap flexibility over the huge hit he might've added to the books.
And in the uncertainty that currently surrounds the NBA, it's no surprise that Drummond plans to opt in. Not only is the open market often depressed for centers, but free agency in the middle of a pandemic will be tough for most to gauge. It makes a lot of sense for him to get his bag, help the Cavs possibly be competitive, and see what the league looks like in a year.
Cleveland only got to see eight games out of him this season, so a full season (or as close as we'll get to one) of evaluation should give the team a better idea of how to approach his next contract.
It will be interesting to see how he fits with Cleveland's young trio of guards. Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Darius Garland all need touches, and Kevin Love won't be as amiable to a spot-up role as he was with LeBron James. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will have a lot of mouths to feed, a unique situation for what's thought to be a rebuilding team.