As the trade deadline has passed us by, I think I speak for us all when I say that A.) I’m surprised both Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are still on the roster and B.) the Cavaliers somehow managed to obtain Andre Drummond from the Detroit Pistons. I don’t know who made calls to whom, but given the fact that they gave up next-to-nothing, I’d say the Cavs came out of the deadline a winner even though both jilted bigs are still Cavaliers.
John Henson, Brandon Knight and a 2023 second-round pick are all it took to pry the big man, who’s averaging nearly 18 ppg and 16 rpg, from a team that’s clearly about to blow it all up. One would assume that’s why they were able to get him so cheap. The Pistons were a team with expectations, but because of injuries they could never fulfill them, so when Blake went down again, rumors of a rebuild inevitably began to swirl. Drummond has approximately one and a half seasons left on his contract, but he’s liable to opt-out in the summer. Fortunately, it appears as if the Cavaliers obtained his bird rights, meaning they can offer him the most money (the “Super Max”) and the most years on his next contract. So, opting out doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll leave the organization.
Drummond’s attitude is consistently questionable and his drive is as well. Even so, one can count on him to give you 20/20 nearly every night. He’s a big body and one of the lead rebounders and although he’s struggled with free throws his entire career, this year he’s seen a substantial increase in percentage. He’s the kind of player that the young guards [Collin Sexton and Darius Garland] need; an easy target that possesses the ability to finish around the rim. Don’t be surprised if you see their assists numbers go up during the latter half of the season.
Some might question the trade. “Why trade for a guy who can walk in a year or so?” Well, that may be true, but it’s a risk that this organization needed to take. For the sake of the players and fans. Worst case scenario, he walks, but what did you really lose? More than likely John and Brandon weren’t going to be on the roster after this season. John has the higher ceiling of the two, but he won’t be considered a major loss. The pick they gave up won’t be available until 2023 and it will be either the Cavaliers pick of the Golden State pick; whichever is the worst of the two. Best case, he decides to re-sign and is yet another building block and because of his age  he’d be old enough to be a veteran presence, but young enough to be the future along with guys like Sexton, Garland, and Kevin Porter Jr., not to mention the inevitable lottery pick.
Trading for Drummond and giving up those assets is the epitome of low risk/high reward.
The Cavaliers aren’t going anywhere this season and this appears to be an attempt to start building towards the future of the franchise. Whether or not it works is yet to be seen, but at least fans can find solace in the fact that even if it doesn’t, there was no major loss in terms of the pieces the Cavaliers gave up.
For now, the Cavaliers have to figure out the starting lineup. Tristan has already shown he no longer wants to be here, so being benched for Drummond may agitate him even further. I’m, personally, on board with keeping Tristan if he’s happy, so maybe this move shows him that there is, in fact, some plan in place and he goes back to wanting to be a Cavalier for life. This team has been atrocious this season, but with Drummond in the starting lineup and Tristan presumably on the bench, I’d expect the second half to go a bit more smoothly. That’s assuming that the correct coaching staff is in place, but that’s for another article.