Cleveland Cavaliers can’t find Andre Drummond trade on deadline day, will work toward buyout

CHICAGO – After failing to find a business partner for center Andre Drummond, the Cleveland Cavaliers will work toward a contract termination, allowing the two-time All-Star to become a free agent, sources told .

Drummond has not played since mid-February, a mutual decision between him and the organization as the Cavaliers began their transition to Jarrett Allen as the starting center.

Hoping for a late afternoon trade and working until the 3 p.m. deadline, the Cavs finally couldn’t find a package they liked, or at least one that didn’t require recapturing bulky contracts to match the salary of $ 28.7 million from Drummond. That kind of deal would have limited their financial flexibility as they try to push through reconstruction.

Drummond, who opted for his contract last offseason, will be a hot commodity in the acquisition market. Many in the league have listed the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets as favorites.

“I think it’s good for both of us,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said of the impending split. “It’s good for the organization and it’s also good for ‘Dre. I can’t say enough about ‘Dre and how he handled all of this because it wasn’t easy. It is a competitor. He wants to play, he loves his teammates. His peers adore him. He could have handled it and been a jerk and have an attitude and not be nice to his peers and say negative things, but he never did. He handled it professionally. I think that’s one of the things we need to focus on and remember how gracefully he handled an extremely difficult situation. “

Drummond has made two career postseason appearances. He talked about the possibility of making three, seeing a potential change and a fresh start in Cleveland. But Allen’s arrival in January changed that. The opportunity to join a contender will influence Drummond’s eventual decision.

“There is no reason not to support it,” Bickerstaff said. “He deserves it as a person, which is the most important thing. He deserves all the success that has come his way. He sets the time, he works non-stop. At the beginning of the season, when we got to those 10 wins, we wouldn’t have had those 10 wins without him. When we were at the top of the league on defense, we wouldn’t have been at the top of the league on defense if it weren’t for him. I have nothing but great things to say about my experience with ‘Dre and I wish him well in the future. “

The Cavs made a move on the day of the deadline, sending backup center JaVale McGee to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for young center Isaiah Hartenstein and two future second-round picks.

The picks in that deal, the sources say, are a 2023 second round that is protected to No. 46 and an unprotected second round of 2027. That brings the Cavaliers’ total to three second-round picks added in multiple McGee trades. in the last five months. The first from the Los Angeles Lakers, along with McGee, at the end of November.

Cleveland also raised a $ 4.2 million trade exception on that deal involving McGee, a player they had no interest in buying from. McGee, at the heart of the trade rumors of recent days, did not play in Wednesday’s deadline eve’s win against the Chicago Bulls. In his last appearance Monday night, the veteran scored a season-high 18 points to go with nine rebounds.

The Cavs are 17-27 this season, 2.5 games behind Chicago for 10th place in the Eastern Conference, and last in the game. They will continue their four-game road trip against the Lakers on Friday night.

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