NBA trade deadline rumors: Knicks in the mix for Andre Drummond as Cavaliers look to unload All-Star center

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Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond has been on the trade block for over a month now, but with the deadline approaching, a deal has not yet materialized. His salary is the primary reason why. Drummond, a former NBA All-Star, is making $28.7 million this season, and any team acquiring him would have to send nearly as much back in order to fit him under the cap. Few interested parties have that kind of salary lying around, so the expectation has been that Drummond would eventually be bought out and free to sign with a new team in free agency. 

There’s still time for a properly motivated suitor to swoop in and secure him, though, and according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, one such suitor might have revealed itself. The New York Knicks have emerged as a serious possible destination for Drummond, O’Connor reports. The Knicks are far more flexible in how they can acquire Drummond than most teams. 

New York carried around $19 million in cap space into the season, a rarity in the modern NBA, and they used a chunk of that to help acquire Derrick Rose last month. Now they have around $15 million in space left, meaning they’d only need to send $13.7 million or so out in order to match Drummond’s salary. The Knicks have eight players making between $4-8 million, so that would be doable. The alternative for New York would be to wait until Drummond gets bought out, and then use their cap space to sign him to a hefty multi-year deal. No other team can match their current spending power, so if Drummond was interested in staying in New York, the Knicks could pay him handsomely to do so. 

New York’s opening night starter at center, Mitchell Robinson, recently returned from a hand fracture, and the Knicks also have Nerlens Noel at center. Julius Randle made the All-Star Game for them at power forward, and as disappointing as No. 8 overall pick Obi Toppin has been, he still figures into the team’s future. All of this is to say that Drummond would be a somewhat confusing addition for New York if they don’t have other moves planned, but adding talent is rarely a bad thing. 

If the Knicks want to add Drummond, their cap space will allow them to do so. No other team has the flexibility that they do. Now they need to determine just how interested they really are in Cleveland’s center, and if bringing him in is really worth the opportunity cost of using that cap space elsewhere. 

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