Before the season, Andre Drummond loudly declared his intent to decline his $28,751,774 player option for 2020-21. For a while, Drummond appeared committed to optimizing his contract year and positioning himself strongly for 20220 free agency.
But Drummond slipped back into old habits, playing with inconsistent energy and focus. A lack of trade interest from teams around the league further signaled Drummond’s diminished value. Ultimately, the Pistons dealt Drummond to the Cavaliers for a paltry return. Detroit was mostly just happy to unload the liability of Drummond’s player-option salary.
That’ll probably be Cleveland’s problem next season.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
According to multiple sources, Drummond picking up his option remains most likely.
Do Fedor’s sources have inside information on Drummond’s thinking? That’s what would make this interesting.
Otherwise, I can make the same supposition. Though Drummond is an incredible rebounder and good interior scorer, he’s a tough fit in the modern NBA. He’s a middling defender who doesn’t shoot from outside but has a fondness for post-ups that eclipses his ability. Players like that don’t get anywhere near $28,751,774.
Perhaps, Drummond wants to leave the Cavs, who are in a miserable situation. If another team comes close on money, Drummond could bolt.
But opting in is most likely. Not only was that probably always his best financial course, he can save face by claiming the coronavirus pandemic – which is hurting the NBA’s revenue – changed the situation.
The Cavaliers knew what they were getting into when they acquired Drummond just before the trade deadline. They thought he was worth the risk. But they’ll have to figure out what to do with him and Tristan Thompson, their center who’s definitely headed toward free agency. These are solid players, but Cleveland is in an expensive predicament.