Tagged in: cavaliers

Andre Drummond to pick up option to stay with Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond has ended his silence about his future, saying Tuesday that he plans to pick up his player option that will keep him in Cleveland for another year.

Drummond, acquired by the Cavaliers in February for Brandon Knight, John Henson and a future second-round pick, has a $28.7 million option for the 2020-21 campaign that he needs to officially accept or decline in writing by Oct. 17, the day before free agency is scheduled to begin.

“Yeah, that’s going to be pretty hard to give up, so you can count on me being in Cleveland still,” Drummond said during a light-hearted, laugh-filled interview on the ESPN podcast Le Batard & Friends — STUpodity. “I definitely will be in Cleveland.”

Multiple sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs have not been informed of any decision at this point and don’t expect to receive the formal paperwork from Drummond until October. However, both sides have been giving off the impression that they are interested in continuing the partnership, which was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic on March 11.

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Drummond played eight matches with the Cavs before the league froze.

They went 4-4 with him in the lineup. He averaged 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in 28.1 minutes. Because of the Cavs’ record — 19-46 — and their place in the Eastern Conference standings, they weren’t one of 22 teams invited to participate in the NBA’s Disney restart in late July. Still, it was enough to give Drummond a taste of the future.

“I enjoy being in Cleveland,” Drummond said. “I think the people there are outstanding. The fan base is super dope. The gym is dope. I love playing there. The coaching staff is good. The team is young, so it’s good to work with.”

At the time of the stunning blockbuster deal, general manager Koby Altman was unsure of Drummond’s plans beyond this campaign. Neither Drummond nor agent Jeff Schwartz, who also represents Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love, gave any indication. But Altman was always fine with either outcome.

Drummond’s decision to opt in allows him to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021 — unless the Cavs and Drummond work out a long-term contract extension. According to sources, the Cavs have internally discussed that possibility. Based on the new offseason calendar, Drummond can technically sign an extension beginning on Oct. 23.

With Drummond making his commitment public, the Cavs can proceed with other offseason plans. Sources say Drummond’s decision doesn’t guarantee Tristan Thompson’s departure. Thompson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, will weigh all of his options. But the fallout from COVID-19 — and the anticipated drop in in the salary cap — has caused plenty of uncertainty, especially for free agents.

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Bikerstaff get multi year deal to coach Cavaliers

An encouraging 10-game start to his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers has formally landed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff a contract extension. 

The Athletic’s Kelsey Russo was the first to report that Bickerstaff and the Cavs had agreed to a multiyear deal. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the deal is for four years and will run through the 2023-24 campaign. 

The 41-year-old started this season with the Cavaliers as an associate head coach on John Beilein’s staff. He spent the previous two years as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies but was fired after a 33-49 record in 2018-19. 

When Beilein resigned as Cleveland’s head coach on Feb. 19, the team promoted Bickerstaff to take over on a full-time basis. 

“We are very fortunate to have someone of J.B.’s caliber and basketball pedigree lead our franchise as head coach,” Altman said in a statement released by the team. “His wealth of experience, coupled with the respect he has garnered around the NBA and with this team, has made for a seamless transition from associate head coach to head coach.

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The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon reported after Beilein’s resignation that Cavs players “began tuning Beilein out” during training camp and he had “shown no consistency in relating to players or in building lasting relationships with them.”

One unnamed Cavaliers player told Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor the change has been “night and day” going from Beilein to Bickerstaff: “[Beilein] didn’t know how to talk to people. He couldn’t communicate.”

After going 14-40 under Beilein, the Cavaliers have been a respectable 5-5 in 10 matches with Bickerstaff at the helm.

Bickerstaff previously coached in Houston and Memphis before coming to Cleveland. He led the Rockets to the playoffs in 2015-16.

Second-year guard Collin Sexton, a core piece of the rebuild, has been one of the driving forces behind the surge, averaging 25.4 points over the last 10 matches, which ranks 14th in the NBA. Only LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are averaging more points per match with a higher field goal percentage. Sexton is also averaging 4.1 assists and 10.1 potential assists under Bickerstaff.

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