Knicks remain on Andre Drummond’s short list after official buyout

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Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News
·3 min read
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Andre Drummond was officially bought out and has the Knicks on his short list.

The former All-Star is considering the Celtics, Lakers and Knicks, according to the L.A. Times, and could make a decision this weekend. The Knicks, sources said, are certainly interested and hold the advantage of more cap space than the other suitors.

With roughly $14 million available, they can sell the security of a long-term contract. The Lakers, on the other hand, can only offer the minimum but have a natural fit on a title contender. Their starting center is currently Marc Gasol, who is 36 years old and recently missed nine straight games while battling COVID-19. He is averaging just 4.3 points and four rebounds in 19.8 minutes.

Drummond, 27, averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds on the Cavaliers before the remaining one year, $29 million was bought out. But a reputation of being a stat stuffer on bad teams has followed his career.

The Celtics are underachieving this season but have a higher ceiling than the Knicks with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They also need a center because Tristan Thompson has been a disappointment.

The Knicks are more of an awkward match with Drummond. They have a young starting center, Mitchell Robinson, who has been hailed as a future cornerstone but is limited offensively. Drummond is a talent upgrade but there are concerns about his presence stifling Julius Randle’s game.

Drummond is listening to pitches from those three teams plus the Hornets and Clippers, according to Yahoo! Sports. However, the Hornets already acknowledged they’re “longshots,” according to Charlotte GM Mitch Kupchak.

“I don’t know where we fit into the plans of any of these players that may get bought out,” Kupchak, who has cap space and a trade exception to utilize, said. “But yes, we will look and make contact with these players and their representatives if they’re bought out.”

Other players available in the buyout market include LaMarcus Aldridge, Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng. Aldridge is expected to sign with the Miami Heat.

DEPARTING FOR DEPAUL?

Knicks assistant Kenny Payne is close to taking the head coaching job at DePaul after meeting with school officials Friday, according to the university’s student-run newspaper The DePaulia.

Payne was an assistant at Kentucky before joining the Knicks this season on a lucrative contract. Tom Thibodeau said previously the Knicks wouldn’t stand in the way of Payne taking this job.

“If he was to coach somewhere else, I know he would be a great coach just because how I’ve gotten to know him,” said Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, who also played under Payne at Kentucky. “Not just as a coach but as a person — he puts the players first. He’ll be there early in the morning, late at night. He’ll take you to lunch, help you with your homework.”

Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant was also in the running for a college job at the University of Utah but reportedly withdrew his name.