It’s hard to know what the Cleveland Cavaliers will look like next season, but like most non-playoff qualifiers, they’re likely to explore every avenue toward improvement.
Drummond was acquired from the Detroit Pistons at the February trade deadline and has a player option worth $28.75 million on his contract. He has indicated he will exercise that option, and frankly, that’s the decision that makes the most sense.
But that also means Drummond will have an expiring (i.e. tradeable) contract. That opens the door for all sorts of possibilities.
One could be just keeping Drummond and seeing what happens before the next trade deadline, then making a decision at that time. That seems like the most realistic scenario.
“Multiple league sources believe the Cavs’ best chance for a trade would be at the deadline, sending him to a contender looking for an additional piece with no financial commitment beyond the 2020-21 season,” Fedor reported. “That gives rival executives a chance to evaluate where they stand financially and competitively.”
Of course, another option could be trying to move Drummond the very minute he picks up the option in some sort of sign-and-trade arrangement.
And yet another would be signing Drummond to a contract extension. Fedor reported those talks have indeed taken place, though the sides remain “far apart.”
One thing GM Koby Altman and the Cavs don’t want to do is risk losing Drummond in free agency next summer — which is the risk that will happen if he picks up his option and the Cavs don’t move him.
Drummond, 27, appeared in just eight games for the Cavs after the trade because of a couple injuries and a whole lot of circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Cavs liked what they saw and are more than willing to see more. They didn’t trade for Drummond just to get rid of him.
He proved to be a force in the middle, an athletic large body who is always a borderline All-Star. But there are other things to consider — fit in coach J.B. Bickerstaff‘s system, as well as the rest of the roster and mostly, what will benefit the franchise the most in the long term.
Drummond may be a part of that, but he may not, too. And that type of uncertainty is what the Cavs are facing in a lot of areas in what promises to be an intriguing offseason.