There’s no denying that 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds a game are major stats for an NBA Center. That’s what Andre Drummond has averaged this season. It is no fluke, he has led the NBA in rebounding 4 times. Any writers calling Andre Drummond’s production insignificant is simply not telling the truth. The more accurate description is that he doesn’t contribute enough to winning.
He is a dominating force and a throwback to Centers of yesteryear. However, his brand of basketball is not ideal for modern NBA offenses. I won’t call him a lost cause or worthless. I think he can make adjustments with the right coach to really make an impact on a winning team. I’m not here to discount his skills whatsoever, but he is not the right player for the Knicks right now.
When you consider bringing in players you have to look at the entire picture. It is always important to weigh all the costs involved. These costs can be literally monetary assets and sometimes these costs are intangible. In the case of Andre Drummond, he may be too expensive when it comes to both.
Reporting with @WindhorstESPN: The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer planning to play center Andre Drummond as they work to trade the two-time All-Star prior to the NBA’s March 25th deadline, sources told ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 15, 2021
With Mitchell Robinson being out for 4 to 6 weeks some fans have the idea that Andre Drummond’s ideal time is now. They have the notion that he could fill in for Mitchell Robinson now and even sign long-term with the Knicks. I hope to shed light on why this would be a poor idea for the Knicks to execute. I think bringing in Andre Drummond would be fool’s gold. It initially would look good on the surface but could be disastrous for the team’s chemistry. First, let’s see how the acquisition of Andre Drummond can happen.
There are 2 ways in which the Knicks can acquire Andre Drummond:
Most teams over the salary cap would have to match Andre Drummond’s $28.8M salary within 25% to be in line with the CBA. With the Knicks being under the salary cap they have a big advantage. Instead, of having to send out at least $23M in contracts in return, the Knicks can send much less if they are willing to use their $15M in cap space toward the trade.
A buyout by the Cleveland Cavaliers is a real possibility with a lack of trade partners willing to take such a large contract. If a buyout happens, any team would be able to sign him for as little as a prorated veteran’s minimum contract. The Knicks have the advantage since they have $15M in cap space, so they can offer more than the veteran’s minimum.
Also if the team that acquires Drummond wants to resign him they would need to use their 2021-22 cap space since they won’t have his Bird Rights. The advantage is for the Knicks, they can resign him and other players that complement his game.
The 2 arguments I hear from pro-Drummond trade advocates:
Argument 1: He wouldn’t cost much draft capital
The argument I hear is the Knicks can send little-used players in return. A trade may cost the Knicks an additional 2nd round pick as well. I would still have a problem with the cost. Spending real valuable assets on a couple of months’ short-term solution isn’t smart basketball for our situation. For a contending team that cost could be ideal. The Knicks are not a contending team. If the Knicks had Drummond in mind as their Center of the future, yes trading Andre Drummond would be something to consider. Even if Andre Drummond doesn’t cost a lot of draft capital he could cost us in potential assets.
The Knicks have about $15M in cap space at their disposal. Brock Aller and Scott Perry have shown us they can maneuver cap space into picks. The Knicks would be better off down the stretch looking to score more assets or maneuver the upper hand on a trade rather than bringing in Andre Drummond for a rental.
Argument 2: He can be an excellent backup to Mitchell Robinson
Andre Drummond is not looking for a backup role in the NBA. That notion disappears once you know the facts surrounding his impending trade or free agency.
The Cleveland Cavs went into last year thinking Drummond would opt-out. Since he didn’t, they discussed a long-term extension. He declined a large long-term extension contract of $20M+ per season. If he declined this offer, you can conclude he wants a more lucrative deal beginning in summer 2021. We are talking about a current $28M player with one thing on his mind…trying to secure the largest free-agent contract possible. Being a backup player does not fit the narrative of someone looking for a large payday.
He is a mercenary for the rest of the season. The Knicks have $70M in possible cap space this summer. Drummond’s agent has suggested that he would consider signing with New York if bought out. That would put him where the money is this summer. His willingness to sign is just a way to get his foot in the door.
I’m wary of the collateral damage of bringing in Andre Drummond more than the monetary cost this year. Alienating Mitchel Robinson could be an undoing of the Knicks.
The Knicks already have a player many think of as their “center of the future”. In fact, Mitchell Robinson is looking to secure a long-term extension as soon as this summer. Bringing in Andre would possibly invite tension between Robinson’s management team and the Knicks. Minimizing Robinson’s role while he’s trying to secure a long-term contract would be poor judgment. In a world where the Center position has been marginalized, neither center should or would accept a backup role if given the choice.
I don’t think Andre Drummond is what the Knicks need at this point. If he was more realistic on his value many more teams would probably be interested in trading for him. The Cavs have tried to extend him and found out the hard way he is not willing to budge on his lofty price. Maybe at some point in the future, our situation will be different.
I have a much different opinion than Marc Berman who thinks the Knicks Have Nothing To Lose By Trading for Andre Drummond. The Knicks can alienate one of their most important players and block themselves from gaining more assets. Unless the Knicks are willing to trade Mitchell Robinson in a separate deal, they should stay far away from Andre Drummond. The Knicks need to make a long-term decision on Mitchell Robinson before they think of adding any star Centers. They already have a great backup center in Nerlens Noel. He fits well with the culture and has embraced backing up Mitchell Robinson. For Andre Drummond, the Knicks fit well because of their deep pockets. The Knicks cannot fall victim to overpaying so early in their rebuilding plans.
Does this mean the Knicks are considering trading Mitchell Robinson? I’m unsure.
Let us know your thoughts on Andre Drummond and if there is any scenario you see him as a New York Knick.