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What will Cavs’ starting lineup look like after the trade deadline?

Cavs, Kevin Love, Collin Sexton

The Cavs made an interesting move just before Thursday’s trade deadline, acquiring Andre Drummond from the Pistons for John Henson, Brandon Knight and a second-round draft pick in 2023. The deal was met with some skepticism, as it created several lingering questions for the team’s future.

Some thought Tristan Thompson would be on the move at this year’s deadline, but no suitable deals came to fruition. As a result, the Cavs now have a plethora of bigs on their roster.

So, what will the Cavs’ lineup look like now that Drummond has joined the team? Will he stay in Cleveland beyond this season? And maybe more importantly, who is going to be the team’s starting center? These are questions that Cavs fans are asking.

Drummond and Thompson share a similar style of play. Both are excellent in the post, especially on the glass. In fact, Drummond is currently ranked 1st in rebounds, while Thompson is ranked 9th. On a negative note, however, neither is accurate from the free-throw or three-point line. Would the Cavs start two rim protectors? And what would that mean for Kevin Love, who is a natural power forward? Would he then move to small forward? It’s an unlikely scenario, but it’s an issue that has suddenly presented itself.

Though he’s a solid shooter from the perimeter, Love wouldn’t fare well when matched up against some of the league’s best small forwards (picture a LeBron James vs. Love matchup). Moving Love to small forward would also send Cedi Osman to a reserve role, which is another idea that doesn’t seem likely.

With Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, Cleveland’s starting backcourt is already set. But who will start in the frontcourt? With the recent trend of small-ball and three-point shooting in the NBA, it’s become increasingly important to have a versatile big man.

Both Drummond and Thompson are playing in the final year of their contracts. Drummond, now 26 years of age, can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Thompson, 28, can do the same. Will the Cavs be able to keep either of them around for next season?

Cavs general manager Koby Altman is hoping Drummond will be a long-term option, according to a report from Chris Fedor of cleveland.com:

If Thompson would accept a reserve role with the Cavs (and that’s a big if), he could serve alongside Larry Nance Jr., who signed a multi-year extension with the team in 2018. This would create a formidable bench unit and open up the starting lineup for a Drummond-Love duo.

If the Cavs decide to take this route, their starting lineup would consist of Garland, Sexton, Osman, Love and Drummond. Either way, first-year head coach John Beilein will have his hands full juggling minutes.

Fans won’t have to wait much longer for an answer to their starting lineup queries, as the Cavs are slated to host the Clippers on Sunday night.

The Land