Still building, still trading and still no team identity established. We’re almost a fifth of the way through the 2020-21 NBA season; let’s check-in and see how the Cavs are doing. The club currently sits exactly in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference, ranked 7th out of 15 teams with a mediocre record of 6-7. To start the season, the Cavs hit the ground running going 4-2 but have since slowed down, losing five of their past seven games. Injuries are partially responsible for the deceleration in momentum as PF Kevin Love has played in just two games due to a right calf strain and starters PG Collin Sexton and SG Darius Garland are nursing their own ailments, having missed the last five and seven games respectively.
OK, so that’s the bad news… but the near future looks promising!
Though the Cavs are looking to trade or release SG Kevin Porter Jr. after acting out against refs and having a heated altercation with manager Koby Altman; they have also onboarded some new personnel. Getting a piece of the pie during this year’s blockbuster trade featuring multiple teams and SG James Harden, the Cavs acquired C Jarrett Allen and PF/SF Taurean Prince from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for PG Dante Exum and a 2022 first-round draft pick owned by the Milwaukee Bucks. The acquisition of C Jarrett Allen is particularly exciting and looks to be a perfect fit for the young, talented roster the Cavs are currently developing. Allen, only 22 years old, played a crucial role in Brooklyn’s rebuilding process and brings solid point production and defense to Cleveland’s frontcourt.
The recent trade news may leave you asking, “What about C Andre Drummond?”
It’s a very good question and up in the air at the moment. Drummond is having a good tenure with the Cavs, averaging 18.6 points per game and 13.9 rebounds in two seasons. The problem is that Drummond is in the final year of his 5-year $127,171,313 contract, earning nearly $28.8 million for the 2020-21 season and would be looking at a big contract in free agency that might not be affordable for the Cavs. Jarrett Allen’s contract costs nearly a tenth of Drummond’s and he is also five years younger, making him a much better fit for the Cavs’ future and long-term plan to rebuild. Over the last few days, rumors have surfaced over the potential of trading Drummond; Even JaVale McGee’s name has come up regarding possible suitors before the trade deadline on March 25th.
It would be a shame to lose Drummond in a trade or free agency, but Cleveland needs to stay realistic and keep its eyes on the present; the remainder of the season and sitting dead-middle in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs have a couple of tough games coming up against a fully-loaded Brooklyn Nets team, not only featuring the new addition of James Harden, but also the return of PG Kyrie Irving from his seven-game hiatus. PF Kevin Love could be out for at least another week or so but thankfully Sexton and Garland are looking to be back as soon as Wednesday, each logging full practices this week.