As expected, Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond has wisely decided on picking up his player option for next season. This means that, at least for another year, he’ll be wearing a Cavs uniform. His reasoning for doing so is still up in the air. Maybe he wants to be a Cavalier long term, or maybe he realized that his stock as a free agent wouldn’t get him anywhere near the $28.7 million he would receive if he stayed put. Regardless, this means one of two things for the team: they’re going to push to compete now or use him as a bargaining piece when it comes time to trade for younger assets or picks. Given the makeup of the roster and the constant uncertainty around PF Kevin Love, I’d say that they’re aiming for the latter.
For now, though, he’ll give the team a big who can rebound and score in the paint. A good guy for the guards to get the ball to down low. Later on, he’ll be a means to aid the team in the rebuild that they so desperately need to embrace. Find ways to continue building a young core around the likes of PF Collin Sexton, SG Darius Garland, SF Kevin Porter Jr., and whomever they chose to draft this year.
I doubt Drummond wants to be on this team long-term. He’s dealt with this sort of in-the-air build most of his career. If he’s smart, he’s taking this money while he can as he prepares to play his ass off next season to secure a longer contract on a contending team, even if it means taking less money. Picking up his option is a win-win for both sides and if the front office is smart, they’ll make the most of a big man who can give you 20/20 on any given night (if he feels like it).
Both sides should be eyeing a trade closer to the deadline because that’s when fringe teams like to get a little desperate. But on the off chance the Cavs have no intention of trading him, don’t be surprised if they choose a defensive-minded player. Several of the starters are either a complete or partial liability on defense, so if they end up selecting a player who’s more defensive-minded than say, Obi Toppin, that may be the first indication that Drummond is here to stay.