Just ahead of the 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline on Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers completed an out-of-nowhere blockbuster deal, acquiring Andre Drummond from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for John Henson, Brandon Knight and a second-round draft pick.
Obviously, the Cavs gave up next to nothing for Drummond. Henson and Knight were merely salary filler, and while second-round picks can have some value, they generally don’t turn out to be anything.
So, yes; Cleveland essentially got Drummond for free (which says a whole lot about how he is viewed around the league), but the catch is that the big man will be a free agent this summer.
Here is the question: do the Cavs plan on re-signing him?
They are already saddled with a hefty contract in Kevin Love, and it seemed like a priority for the Cavaliers was creating some flexibility to make moves for the future. But if they sign Drummond, those hopes will torpedo. Or at least it seems like they will.
Andre Drummond will be one of the top available free agents in a weak class this coming offseason and will represent one of the more polarizing players we have seen on the market in recent memory.
In terms of counting stats, Drummond is a monster, as he is averaging 17.8 points and 15.8 rebounds per game this season, and he boasts career averages of 14.4 points and 13.9 boards a night.
But how good is Drummond really?
His offensive game is incredibly limited, as he generates most of his points off of lobs and putbacks. He doesn’t have much of a post game, and he doesn’t spread the floor at all. Plus, while his free-throw shooting has improved, he is still a liability from the charity stripe, shooting just 58.4 percent from the line this year.
Defensively, Drummond has all of the physical tools to be a monster, standing 6-foot-10 with a long wingpsan and freakish athletic ability, but Drummond’s impact on the defensive end has been surprisingly minimal throughout his NBA tenure.
Yes, he blocks some shots, but he is caught out of position a heck of a lot, and in spite of his athleticism, he isn’t the greatest at defending in space.
To be fair to Drummond, he has been languishing in Detroit for his entire career, but it’s not like Cleveland’s environment is any better, so I am having a hard time believing he is going to suddenly turn things around with the Cavs.
Again, Cleveland didn’t give up anything of value to nab Drummond, so right now, it’s hard to criticize the Cavs for making this move. We won’t be able to truly evaluate this deal until the summer when the Cavaliers decide what they want to do with the UConn product in free agency.
Chances are, Cleveland will try to extend him, and perhaps it will get lucky and Drummond’s market won’t be as bustling as he thinks.
But until we see what actually happens at that point, we have to give the Cavs an incomplete grade for this trade.