The Cavaliers big man is a productive player in the middle of his prime who can offer ravenous rebounding and interior scoring, but he’s playing for one of the worst squads in the league on a $28 million expiring contract.
Trading for Allen, a younger, more defensive-minded center, was the smoking gun for an eventual Drummond deal. Now, Drummond is in purgatory as the Cavaliers and his reps at Excel Sports have agreed to hold the big man out of action until a transaction materializes.
Drummond's production and his expiring contract make him an enticing target for teams looking to bolster their roster as the race for the playoffs heats up.
Which teams should do whatever it takes to acquire Drummond? Here are his five best landing spots.
This would be an excellent fit, considering Drummond is consistently the best overall rebounder in the league. He leads the league in offensive and defensive rebounding, which is exactly what the Raptors could really use.
Toronto is a middling 21st in total rebounding rate. They’ve been stuck between a rock and a hard place on that end because when they play Aron Baynes, the offense suffers, but when they use the rail-thin Chris Boucher, they post league-worst rebounding rates.
Drummond would immediately extinguish Toronto’s rebounding woes, as well as provide a more consistent interior scorer. The Raptors have found success going small, but they’d be wise to acquire one of the few players who has a prayer of defending Joel Embiid and Domantas Sabonis.
At this point, the Celtics could use any tall person with a pulse in the frontcourt. Their lack of depth presents a serious issue because outside of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker, no one has truly stepped up to be a trusted contributor. Depth is overrated come playoff time, sure, but that’s referring to cutting the minutes from the 8th and 9th men in a rotation. It’s definitely a problem when a team is this thin.
Not only is Drummond a quality basketball player, but he also fills the perfect role as an interior scorer for the Celtics, a dimension that their offense has sorely lacked when shuffling through the Daniel Theis, Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams carousel.
Drummond is also a quality fit because he can help Boston with their weaknesses while they can help him with his. As a defender, Drummond leaves a lot to be desired. Like most centers, he has trouble containing guards on the perimeter, but Boston is a top-10 defense in terms of efficiency.
On the other end, the Celtics have had a hard time scoring all year, and while Drummond is by no means a post-up maestro with bags of tricks at his disposal, he racks up points off rebounds and finishes in the paint.
Boston could really use someone like him.
Los Angeles Lakers
Throughout his career in Detroit and then Cleveland, Drummond has been asked to do a little bit more than he’s capable of, and that’s had a direct correlation with his offensive efficiency numbers. He’s been paired with wild point guards who never put him in the best positions to succeed while dealing with spacing issues.
If the Lakers were to scoop him up on the buyout market, that would be an excellent spot for Drummond. His minutes would surely plummet once Anthony Davis returns from a calf strain, but in the meantime, he would get to play a valuable role for a top contender. And even when the Brow returns, Drummond’s services would still be valuable for the Lakeshow.
Drummond would be in paradise with the number of easy putbacks and wide-open dunks he'd get in La La Land.
The Nets are a legitimate title contender this season, but the one area Brooklyn could improve is in the frontcourt.
While it’s probably true that the Nets' best lineups feature small-ball units where Kevin Durant and Jeff Green are the tallest players on the court, good teams need to be able to be amorphous in the playoffs, as some situations call for different lineup compositions. Also, it’s untenable to put that much physical stress on KD and Green to play out of position the entire game.
DeAndre Jordan has had a solid career, but he’s on his last legs and has been sapped of his defensive mobility and lob-catching prowess. Drummond could fit in as a huge space cleaner down low, gobbling up rebounds and likely improving Brooklyn’s 23rd-ranked offensive rebounding unit.
With three superstar scorers and one knockdown shooter orbiting him, Drummond would have acres of space to dominate and put his skills to work.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers might not be the cleanest fit for the Cavaliers' big man, but, with how beat up Portland is, Drummond could play a vital role down low.
When everyone is healthy, Jusuf Nurkic is a quality starting center who can credibly anchor a defense, feast in the post and drop dimes when teams play drop coverage. The issue is he’s always injured, and Drummond would be incredible insurance.
As for Enes Kanter, who is currently filling in for Nurkic, defense has always been hard to come by. While Kanter has done an admirable job grabbing rebounds and scoring in the post during the regular season, he’s routinely been eaten alive in the pick-and-roll in the playoffs, when teams ruthlessly target and attack him on every play.
Drummond can slot right in next to Robert Covington and act as a pick-and-roll partner for Damian Lillard, who would be the best player he’s ever played with by far. This partnership could be highly profitable for both parties.
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