CLEVELAND: Andre Drummond is on the trade block — and the bench.
The two-time All-Star center will be inactive for upcoming games as the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are struggling badly after a solid start and are intent on playing newly acquired center Jarrett Allen, try to deal Drummond.
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the decision to sit Drummond, one of the NBA’s leading rebounders at 13.5 per game, was difficult.
“Sometimes you’re forced into difficult positions that’s not easy to navigate, but in respect to Dre and all that he’s done and accomplished and as much as he’s helped us, we thought this was the fairest thing to do for him,” Bickerstaff said before the Cavs closed out a rough road trip Monday night at Golden State.
After the team met with Drummond and his agent, he was kept out Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) game — the team called it “rest” — against the Los Angeles Clippers. Drummond will continue to stay on the sideline while the team tries to find a trade partner.
Bickerstaff said the Cavs will decide if the 27-year-old will remain around his teammates amid trade talks in the coming days.
The Cavs are shopping Drummond in advance of the March 25 trading deadline, and a person familiar with the team’s activity told the AP there is “nothing imminent” as far as a deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
Allen was acquired last month along with forward Taurean Prince, and the Cavs view the 6-foot-11 center as a core player moving forward. Drummond, on the other hand, is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $28.7 million this season, and there was no way the Cavs were going to be able to re-sign him as a free agent.
“None of us wanted it to come to this,” Bickerstaff said. “We had a good relationship. He liked it here in Cleveland. So, it’s not something that was easily decided upon and obviously we felt the same way about Dre. We have nothing but great things to say about him.