The Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t able to find a trade partner for Andre Drummond at the NBA trade deadline so they bought him out, and this may end up being Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks‘ gain.
The two teams reportedly talked about making a deal earlier this week, but thanks to Drummond’s hefty contract no agreement could be made. However, with Drummond set to hit the buyout market, the Mavs may be able to get their man for a bargain.
Andre Drummond could be an ideal fit with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks
It’s rare that a buyout candidate makes much of an impact for a contender in the playoffs. In fact, last season Marvin Williams was on a trajectory to be one of the few to do so for the Milwaukee Bucks. And then they lost in the second round of the playoffs and he swiftly retired.
Drummond found himself the odd man out with the Cleveland Cavaliers after they stole Jarrett Allen away from the Brooklyn Nets in the four-team James Harden blockbuster. With Allen being the center of the future and Drummond clearly being on his way out even before the trade, the Cavs ended up sidelining him while they sought out a deal.
Failing to come up with a trade partner, they officially sent him on his merry way on Friday.
There will be a robust market for his services with teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers lining up to woo him. It’s likely that none of those teams will be able to boost his value in a contract year quite like the Dallas Mavericks, and Luka Doncic is the biggest reason for that.
Drummond is known to do too much, too often, and part of that has come from playing with some of the lesser talented teams in the NBA for most of his career. His best pick-and-roll partners have been Brandon Jennings and the one healthy season he got out of Reggie Jackson, and it’s shown over the years as he tries to take over games.
Andre Drummond is not a player who should try to take over games.
With the Dallas Mavericks, he’d have the opportunity to play alongside one of the most dominant heliocentric forces in the NBA in Luka Doncic. Everything goes through Luka, and the offense flows in whichever direction he desires. That’s exactly what Drummond needs.
The Mavs eschew running their offense from the post, and redirecting away from it will benefit Drummond as well. If they simply don’t operate in the post, he can’t get himself caught up trying to go to war down low against opposing bigs. It’s just not in the playbook for head coach Rick Carlisle, and avoiding that goes a long way towards boosting Drummond’s utility right off the bat.
He’s not an elite pick-and-roll man, but working with Doncic could change that at least from a statistical point of view. And Drummond would provide Doncic with a sledgehammer in the paint that he can use to punish defenses via lobs.
James Harden can do the same for him with the Brooklyn Nets, but Drummond risks being the forgotten man in Brooklyn with Harden and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving ahead of him in the pecking order. With the Dallas Mavericks, there may be a bigger share of the action for Drummond, and in a world where big men are getting paid less and less, that has to weigh on his mind as he makes this decision in the late stages of a contract year.
He can also provide the Mavs with a boost on the defensive side. Drummond is hit or miss on that end, ranging from what seems like All-Defensive level efforts and performances all the way down to disengaged and unimpressive. His peaks are better than anything the bigs on the Mavs’ roster can provide, though, and being constantly kept in the mix by Doncic could pay dividends towards keeping him engaged and active on defense.