Andre Drummond has not played since Feb. 12 as the Cleveland Cavaliers have attempted to trade him. The former All-Star center is months away from free agency, and after the Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen to replace him, the team decided it would be best to part ways and commit to Allen as their center of the future. So far, the market for Drummond has developed slowly. It has been several weeks since Cleveland pulled him out of the lineup, but only one team, the Toronto Raptors, was widely reported as interested. Now, we can add a second team to that list.
The Chicago Bulls have expressed interest in Drummond, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The complicating factor for most teams is financial. Drummond has a $28.7 million cap number this season. That makes matching his salary extremely difficult. Most teams don’t have that sort of money lying around on players they don’t need, but the Bulls are an exception. Otto Porter Jr. has hardly played this season due to injury, has an expiring contract and is making roughly $28.5 million this season. He would be easy matching salary in a Drummond deal.
Wendell Carter Jr. has played well for the Bulls this season, but his history of injuries makes him somewhat unreliable as a starter. When he’s been out, either due to injury or just during periods of rest, the Bulls have experimented with smaller lineups featuring players like Lauri Markkanen and Thaddeus Young at center. Such lineups have benefits, but Chicago’s interest in Drummond suggests it would like to move away from them.
The Bulls are 16-18 and currently occupy the Eastern Conference’s No. 10 seed. That would earn them a spot in the play-in round, but with the No. 4-seeded Boston Celtics only 1.5 games ahead of them in the standings, the Bulls have an opportunity to gain ground with the right moves. Chicago has not made the playoffs since Jimmy Butler was traded in 2017. Doing so would go a long way in convincing first-time All-Star Zach LaVine, a 2022 free agent, to remain with the team for the long haul.
The Cavaliers gave up only a second-round pick to acquire Drummond a year ago. If Chicago is willing to match that price, given the limited market Cleveland has so far encountered, a deal seems attainable. Swapping Porter for Drummond would be a reasonably-priced way for Chicago to improve its front line. If the goal is to make a playoff push this season, it’s a move that Chicago should seriously consider.
Courtesy: CBS Sports