It's no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to trade Andre Drummond.
On Feb. 15, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported that the Cavaliers were "no longer planning to play" the two-time All-Star as they worked towards moving him ahead of the trade deadline on March 25.
Sure enough, Drummond hasn't registered a single minute in the almost month since, with Jarrett Allen replacing him in Cleveland's starting lineup.
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
Drummond was having a productive season prior to being sidelined. Over 25 games, he averaged 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals on 47.4 percent shooting from the field. The Cavaliers might not get a huge return for Drummond - there has been some chatter of him being potentially bought out - but there are still a number of teams that stand out as potential trade destinations.
Let's take a closer look.
The Athletic's Shams Charania reported back in February that the Raptors and Cavaliers were "engaged in active talks" on a potential Drummond deal.
It's not hard to understand why.
The Raptors have turned it around following a slow start to the season, but the centre position is still a weakness for them. As much of a revelation as Chris Boucher has been this season, establishing himself as both a Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player candidate, he's a little undersized at 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds. Aron Baynes has the size needed to match up with most centres, but he's struggled to find his stride offensively, shooting a career-low 42.9 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from 3-point range.
While Drummond has his limitations on both ends of the court, his rebounding and rim-running could make a difference for the Raptors.
The hurdle the Raptors would face is matching Drummond's salary. Assuming Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby are off the table for what should be obvious reasons, it would likely take something along the lines of Norman Powell, one of Boucher or Baynes and someone like Patrick McCaw for it to even be a possibility.
That would be a lot to give up for a single player, especially one who is a threat to walk in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
MORE: Should the Raptors trade for Drummond?
Similar to the Raptors, centre is the one position where the Hornets are lacking.
Additionally, the two players who currently make up their centre rotation, Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo, are in the final years of their current contracts, so the Hornets will likely be in the market for a centre in the offseason.
Of course, Drummond is in the final year of his current contract as well, making it a possibility that he could walk in the offseason, but trading for him would give the Hornets his Bird Rights, which would allow them to go over the cap to re-sign him.
If the Hornets believe Drummond is their long-term answer at centre and are willing to give him the payday he's looking for, a trade makes sense.
It helps that the Hornets wouldn't have to give up quite as much as the Raptors to match Drummond's salary. One possibility? Zeller, Biyombo and Malik Monk. Losing Monk would sting - it looks like he's turned a corner lately, averaging 22.0 points on .500/.400/.741 shooting splits over his last six games - but the Hornets aren't exactly short on playmakers right now. Using him as the centrepiece of a deal for Drummond would balance out their roster.
The Mavericks are a possibility for a few reasons.
One, Kristaps Porzingis is a good enough shooter for him and Drummond to share the court together. Drummond would likely have a field day playing next to him, as Porzingis would open up the floor for him to rim-run in a way we've never seen from him before.
Two, Drummond would be an insurance policy if Porzingis were to miss more time with injuries. They're very different players, but Drummond is better suited to replace Porzingis as Luka Doncic's sidekick than anyone else currently on the roster.
Three, the Mavericks have been one of the worst rebounding teams in the league this season, both on offence and defence.
Like the Hornets, it helps that they wouldn't have to give up a lot to match Drummond's salary. James Johnson and Dwight Powell for Drummond works in the trusty Trade Machine, the draw for the Cavaliers likely being some sort of draft compensation, even if it's only a second-round pick or two. (Remember, the Cavaliers acquired Drummond from the Detroit Pistons for Brandon Knight, John Henson and a 2023 second-round pick. They didn't give up much themselves to get him, which takes some of the pressure off of hitting a homerun).
A trio of Doncic, Porzingis and Drummond might not turn the Mavericks into title contenders this season, but it could be enough for them to move up a tier in the Western Conference.
Boston Celtics - PointsBet gave the Celtics the third-best odds to land Drummond when news first broke that the Cavaliers were looking to trade him. The Celtics have long been a popular trade destination for centres because of how loaded they are at the guard and forward positions, but them being among the favourites to acquire Drummond seems a little odd given they already have two centres on their roster and he wouldn't fit under their trade exception.
Miami Heat - The Heat already have Bam Adebayo, who is at his best when he's playing centre, but trading for Drummond would give them a little more size in the frontcourt, which could come in handy should they face Giannis Antetokounmpo and/or Joel Embiid in the playoffs. It would be a low-cost gamble for the Heat if they were able to get Drummond for a package built around Andre Iguodala and the expiring contract of Kelly Olynyk.
Los Angeles Lakers - A possibility if Drummond gets bought out. The Lakers already have two centres in Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, but Drummond would be able to fill some of the void left by JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
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