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Andre Drummond to Nets?!? Second reporter suggests buyout and link-up

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Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

For the second time in three days, an NBA writer is reporting that Andre Drummond, who’s been the NBA’s leading rebounder in four of the last five years, is seeking a buyout from the Cavaliers so he can join the Nets.

Two days ago, it was Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer saying the Nets are “hoping” for a buyout so they can sign the 27-year-old. Now on Wednesday, Zach Harper of The Athletic is saying it’s a “matter of time before he finds his way into a buyout” so he can join the Nets. Harper mentioned Drummond on his list of potential buyout candidates.

Drummond is the most intriguing player on this list outside of maybe Derrick Rose. A couple of league sources mentioned after the Harden trade to Brooklyn that it’s a matter of time before he finds his way into a buyout and joins up to give them help with the interior. Drummond is a difficult player to figure out because of how he wants to fit. He’s obviously better than the Kendrick Perkins option the [Oklahoma City] Thunder once had, but Drummond does require you to waste possessions throughout a game throwing it to him in the post. If you can get Drummond to run the floor, catch lobs, set screens, rebound the hell out of the ball and play defense, he’s a great option for someone like the Nets.

However, if he wants to be hyper-involved as a scoring option on a team with KD, Kyrie and Harden, then that’s going to be a problem. He’s better than Jordan at this point, but how much better when you consider how he’ll want to be used?

Two days ago, O’Connor had this to say on Drummond-to-Brooklyn in a podcast with Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate and Nets fan.

“People around the league say the Nets are hoping that Andre Drummond, the Cavs center, gets bought out. That’s what people say they’re hoping for but that’s unlikely because Cleveland is still in (playoff hunt)”

O’Connor said elsewhere in the podcast that he can’t see the Cavaliers simply dumping Drummond when under new rules, NBA teams only have to finish in the top 10 of each conference to qualify for the post-season. The NBA, as it did in the Orlando “bubble,” set up a “play-in” tournament for teams that finish between the seventh and 10th seeds. The Cavaliers are currently in the 7th seed with a surprising 8-9 record that includes two wins over the Nets.

Teams can sign players who are waived or bought out by April 9 qualify for the playoffs. So there’s no rush for Drummond, Cavaliers or Nets.

Drummond, is a two-time All-Star, a one-time All-NBA selection, and four time NBA rebounding champ, topping the league every year but one since 2016. This year, he’s averaging 18.7 points, 14.6 rebounds —second in the NBA, 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocks in 30 minutes per game. He’s currently in the final year of a five year, $127.1 million contract and is making $27.75 million this season.

Assuming the Cavs and Drummond reached a buyout agreement, the Nets could sign the UConn product and Mount Vernon, NY native using either of their exceptions, the $5.6 million taxpayers MLE or the $5.7 million DPE they received Friday for Spencer Dinwiddie. While some have suggested that the Cavaliers would rather trade Drummond, the market for a player on an expiring contract who wants to join another team would be minimal.

Ironically, Drummond’s minutes have dropped since Jarrett Allen joined Cleveland in the four-team deal that brought James Harden to the Nets. Harden, Drummond and Kyrie Irving were teammates on the gold medal-winning U.S. national team in FIBA’s World Cup. The Nets have also been linked to another Cavaliers big, JaVale McGee, in trade rumors.