Don’t expect center Andre Drummond to prepare for the Knicks any time soon.
Despite a report in the Los Angeles Times that the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks are the top three contenders to sign Drummond in the buyout market, the Knicks are against beating the other two clubs in a bid to save their space in the salary cap.
Anything can happen to Drummond this summer in free agency, but the Knicks’ decision makers, after going back and forth for weeks, are leaning toward a big move with the former Cavalier, according to NBA sources.
The Celtics met with Drummond on Friday and they could be favorites for the former Connecticut star and Mount Vernon native.
Knicks bosses have watched a lot of Drummond movies in recent weeks as they weigh whether he would be a good fit with Julius Randle and whether it would be worth putting Mitchell Robinson on the bench.
The Knicks believe Drummond will want to start, but the Knicks have visions of closing the season with the young Robinson, who blocks shots, in the starting lineup. Nerlens center Noel has done well off the bench and was strong as a starter when Robinson missed 15 games after surgery for a broken right hand.
The Knicks are still in the buyout market. Jeff Teague, who was the point guard for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, as well as forward Otto Porter and center Gordon Dieng, are expected to be targets for the Knicks, an NBA source said.
Drummond is a great rebounder, but he’s not considered an elite rim protector or defender. Thibodeau is very good at defensive centers, which is why he is in love with Noel and Robinson.
The Knicks have $ 15 million in cap space and could easily beat Boston, the Lakers and the Clippers. But they could also use that $ 15 million of space on draft night to easily make a trade, while almost every other team would be over the limit.
Third-string center Taj Gibson’s performance in Thursday’s win over the Wizards could have sealed the deal for the Knicks to lose some interest in Drummond. Gibson grabbed seven offensive rebounds, had two blocks and scored 10 points in the comeback win, and Thibodeau was excited about him after the game.