The Cleveland Cavaliers had a bit of a logjam at center, as the standout play of young rim-runner Jarrett Allen has made it difficult for JB Bickerstaff to find playing time for both Allen and Andre Drummond. While he came into this season as a potential trade target, rumors have really revved up in recent weeks, with the Toronto Raptors standing out as a potential landing spot.
The Raptors failed to adequately replace both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, who departed for Los Angeles in free agency. Alex Len was waived and is currently in Washington, while Aron Baynes has been without a doubt the most disappointing player on the roster.
Masai Ujiri is reportedly looking at Drummond, who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, as a potential solution to their frontcourt issues, as the Raptors are one of several teams who are interested in Drummond. The Cavs have decided to sit Drummond in the hopes of preserving his value.
Drummond would be an elite center that can serve as a massive upgrade on the offensive end of the floor when compared to Baynes. Would that make the Raptors contenders in the Eastern Conference?
The Raptors could start to become a contender with Andre Drummond
Teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Boston Celtics are jockeying for position alongside the Raptors in the middle of the East standings. Adding Drummond could help a Toronto team that has struggled on the glass from one of the best frontcourts in the NBA between the former UConn star at center and Pascal Siakam at power forward.
While this would be a tremendous boost for Toronto’s championship questions, the top three teams in the Eastern Conference in the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers will likely still be miles clear of the Raptors.
Brooklyn’s trio of superstars in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden will keep them as one of the East’s true elites. With Joel Embiid playing at an MVP level in Philadelphia and Giannis Antetokounmpo doing everything he can to avoid relinquishing his title, both the 76ers and Bucks are clearly superior to Toronto, as Drummond can only paper over so much.
The Raptors might not become a contender solely based on the Drummond move, as Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia are simply a cut or two above Toronto. However, in the miasma of above-average teams in the East, Toronto could rise out of those doldrums and cement their status as the fourth or fifth-best team in the East.