Of all the big guys who have been tied to the Celtics in recent weeks, the prospects of the team making a major play for Cavaliers center Andre Drummond in the weird upcoming NBA offseason might be the most remote. But, according to one report, the Celtics are “monitoring” negotiations between the Cavs and Drummond on an extension, efforts which have not proceeded particularly well to this point.
It is hard to imagine, though, that the Celtics could really get involved in a potential deal for Drummond, who has a player option on his upcoming for next season contract. Drummond’s option is worth $28.7 million and he will not get more than that on the open market.
Follow the Heavy on Celtics Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
There are a few ways for the Drummond situation to play out but if he does come to an agreement with the Cavaliers on an extension, then there is no chance he will be immediately put on the trade market or that he will hit the free-agent market.
Barring an extension, Drummond could be very available. If he opts into the final year of his contract without striking a new deal with the Cavs, he will be on an expiring contract that might be worth a risk for a contender in need of help in the middle. If he opts out of the final year of the deal—a longshot—he would be an unrestricted free agent and hit the market this offseason.
It is certainly worth it for the Celtics to monitor that kind of situation. But it’s a long way from an indication that Boston could pull the trigger on a deal for Drummond.
Andre Drummond Has Posted Big Numbers
Drummond is a talented big man who has posted huge numbers in his career—14.5 points and 13.8 rebounds in eight seasons, leading the NBA in rebounding for four of the past five years. But his traditional, back-to-the-basket style of play has made him something of a dinosaur in today’s small-ball game, driving down his value in the eyes of most teams in the NBA.
The Pistons shopped Drummond last year at the trading deadline as they made the decision to begin a rebuilding process. There were no takers for Drummond, though, and he wound up being moved for a pair of players with expiring contracts in whom the Pistons had no long-term interest in keeping (John Henson, Brandon Knight) as well as a 2023 second-round draft pick.
As late as February, then, Drummond was essentially traded for a second-rounder three years down the line. The Celtics expressed little interest at the time.
Andre Drummond a Celtics Longshot
It is implausible that Drummond might have restored some of his value since the trade deadline. He played eight meaningless games for Cleveland, averaging 17.5 points and 11.1 rebounds, before the novel coronavirus pandemic ended the Cavs’ season.
He spoke highly of his opportunity in Cleveland just eight months ago, so the notion of tension between the two sides is a bit of a surprise.
As for the Celtics, while it might be nice to have an option like Drummond on the roster, there are not many conceivable routes to a trade for him. One would be a three-team deal in which Cleveland is able to absorb salary and come away with some combination of Boston’s three first-round draft picks. The Celtics don’t have many players they could use to match salaries with Drummond, unless the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or Marcus Smart were included, and that is not happening.
The other main path to Drummond would be a deal in which both Drummond and Celtics wing Gordon Hayward opt in and are dealt for each other. But if the Celtics truly wanted to deal Hayward, they could likely find a better option than Drummond. So, while the Celtics may be monitoring the back-and-forth in Cleveland, it is highly unlikely they actually get involved in a move for Drummond.
READ NEXT: Celtics Considering Big Trade Into Top 10 in Upcoming NBA Draft