Andre Drummond is reportedly considering the New York Knicks following his buyout, but should they be interested in him?
The New York Knicks are reportedly one of five teams that Andre Drummond, the biggest name on the buyout market, is considering. The two-time All-Star is seeking a new team after his stint in Cleveland fizzled out.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Drummond is going to listen to pitches from the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Celtics, and Hornets — all teams that are currently in the playoffs.
Yahoo Sources: Andre Drummond will listen to pitches from the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 26, 2021
The two Los Angeles squads offer Drummond the best chance at winning a title, but he will likely have a bigger role if he winds up with one of the Eastern Conference squads.
The Knicks can pay Drummond more than any other team on this list. In fact, there are benefits to signing Drummond to a contract for the remaining $13.5 million in salary-cap space.
As John Hollinger of The Athletic notes, the Knicks could act as an “over the cap” team in the offseason and give them more financial flexibility. There’s a good chance Knicks vice president and chief strategist Brock Aller knows that too.
Why Drummond Makes Sense
There is a reason why as many as five playoff teams are going to be pitching Drummond for his services — he’s talented. It’s impossible to doubt his ability even if the game itself seems to be evolving without him.
Slow, plodding big men are becoming scarce in the NBA, but Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is an old-school guy. He has figured out how to unlock franchise cornerstones like Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson. If any coach can figure out how to best utilize Drummond, there’s a good chance it’s Thibs.
The Knicks are already ninth in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Drummond, a four-time rebounding champion, would make the Knicks elite in that category. If Drummond buys in — and we assume he will if he chooses to sign with the Knicks — Thibodeau might be the best coach out there for him.
Why Drummond Makes No Sense
There are a few red flags with signing Drummond. First things first, the Knicks already have solid depth at center. This was tested when Robinson fractured his hand and missed 15 games, a stretch where New York compiled a 9-6 record.
Nerlens Noel stepped into the starting role and the Knicks didn’t miss a beat. Meanwhile, Taj Gibson fit like a glove on the second unit. Even Julius Randle took on some minutes at the five after Gibson joined Robinson on the injury report.
There is no desperate need at the position and while Drummond is talented enough to make an impact, he won’t put the Knicks over the top as a true contender.
Ironically enough, the fact that Drummond would carve out a major role in the rotation actually hurts his case to sign with the Knicks. Although it might not look it from his box-score stats, Robinson is taking another leap forward in his development this year. His blocks are down, but he’s a true defensive anchor that can steady a defense.
Drummond and Robinson could split minutes evenly, but things don’t always work out that smoothly. Robinson’s minutes suffering because of Drummond would not be the best thing for the Knicks long-term.
A similar argument was made regarding Immanuel Quickley‘s minutes when the Knicks acquired Derrick Rose. Quickley’s minutes have actually gone up since Rose was acquired, but there are a couple of major differences with these situations.
For one, Rose has missed nine consecutive games so we still don’t know exactly what rotations Thibodeau will favor. However, more importantly, there are only 48 minutes total for the centers. Thibodeau can mix and match minutes with Rose and Quickley on the floor together. There’s no universe where the Knicks could play Drummond and Robinson together.
The Knicks offer Drummond a spot to build himself back up before free agency, but so do the Lakers and Clippers, two teams where he would have a legitimate shot to win a ring too.
Clearly, there are a ton of variables in play with Drummond’s developing situation.