The Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are engaged in trade talks surrounding veteran center Andre Drummond, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday. The Cavaliers sat Drummond on Sunday night vs. the Los Angeles Clippers and are expected to hold out the big man for the foreseeable future as they seek a trade that fits.
Drummond is in the final year of his contract and the Cavaliers were always going to deal him. Cleveland has made it clear that the plan is to get future starting center Jarrett Allen as much playing time as possible this season. The Cavaliers have plenty of time to find a home for Drummond with the Trade Deadline set for March 25th.
Shams is reporting that not only was Drummond pulled from the lineup Sunday to get him rest and protect him as an asset, but there’s also an issue with his “attitude and play,” according to Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff. It’s clear Drummond doesn’t want to play in meaningless games for Cleveland, particularly if he’s losing minutes to his future replacement in Allen. A trade makes sense for both sides.
Let’s look at the Raptors. Toronto’s biggest issue this season has been size after losing Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka via free agency this offseason. So bringing in Drummond to clog up the middle and hold down the paint makes a lot of sense. We’ve seen the Raptors make similar moves in the past to make a run at a title. The team brought in Kawhi Leonard for one season, winning its first championship in 2019. Drummond isn’t the same as the Kawhi move but he’s also an All-Star caliber starting center.
Adding Drummond to a lineup already featuring three All-Star caliber players in Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam would boost the Raptors into the contender conversation in the East again. Drummond is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game this season. The Raptors are dead last in the NBA in rebounds per game at 42 and have a -2.8 rebounding differential on the season.
If you’re looking to get an edge on a line. The Raptors are +1800 to win the Atlantic Division on DraftKings Sportsbook. This is a risky play because Drummond may not end up being traded to Toronto. But if he does, the Raptors may have enough time to creep out of the basement of the division. They are only 6.0 games back of the Philadelphia 76ers for first place. It’s a long shot but the odds are favorable. The Raptors are also 50/1 to win the championship, a line that definitely moves if Drummond lands with the team.
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