Shortly before the NBA trade deadline, the Cavs stunned the NBA world by coming out of nowhere to trade for former Pistons Center Andre Drummond.
At 13-39, the Cavs have the worst record in the East and are obviously not contenders. So, why then, did they trade draft capitol (albeit incredibly minor, a 2nd round pick in a few years) for a win-now type player?
On the other hand, despite this year’s dismal performance, the Eastern Conference is collectively very weak. In theory, the Cavs could see resurgences from young pieces such as Colin Sexton and Darrius Garland. Andre Drummond is a 20/20 type big player and they still have prone commodities within guys like Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr.
So, was it a good move, or one the team will end up regretting?
- The package the team gave was incredibly small. A 2023 2nd round pick combined with Brandon Knight, who has been an utter non factor, and John Henson, makes this a very modest payout. Even if Andre Drummond doesn’t work out and leaves the team soon, the investment is virtually non-existent, giving the trade low-risk distinction with potential for good reward
- As previously mentioned, the Cavs could become playoff contenders next season with Andre Drummond
- With Drummond, the Cavs have surprising depth with big men, arguably having among the NBA’s best Center/Power Forward depth
- Drummond’s locker room issues with the Pistons have been well documented. Now, he steps into a Cleveland locker room which has been more chaotic than anything Detroit has ever seen. This could end poorly.
- Drummond’s numbers have been pretty, but he has been putting them up on an otherwise incredibly poor and shallow Pistons team which has been lacking the services of Blake Griffin. The Cavs similarly are limited talent-wise, but this means it is possible to overrate his actual contributions to team victories based off of his stats.
- Drummond could simply leave the team after this season, as he has a player option for the 2020 season. He likely won’t do that, as he is due to make far more money (28.7M) than he would have a chance at making anywhere else. Still, if he would prefer a championship contender to money, he has little reason to exercise that option.
Andre Drummond will remain with the team at least for next season. Unless the Cavs trade him at next year’s deadline, he will likely complete at least one full season in the Wine and Gold. If the season goes well and the team actually makes the playoffs, it stands to reason that he would be a no-brainer to re-sign at the then-age of 27. If the deadline approaches and the team happens to be well out of contention, trading him seems like a strong possibility.
Still, the investment of actually getting Drummond was miniscule. The only way this trade ends up being particularly bad is, per the first listed con, his ego clashes with the team locker room and that creates a problem. Barring that, the Cavs will at least not have ‘lost’ this trade.
As for ‘winning’ the trade, the Cavs have two paths to reach that distinction. If they make the playoffs thanks to Drummond’s efforts, it will have been a winning trade. If they trade Drummond and get good value for him, value which exceeds what they gave up for him, the trade with the Pistons would be winning for the Cavs. The investment was non-existent and low-risk trades are always nice, especially with a player of Drummond’s stature.
It looks good however you spin it. A good trade for the Cavs.