It appears the Cleveland Cavaliers are OK with taking criticism for their decision to bench Andre Drummond until they can trade the veteran center.
The most notable of those criticisms came from Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who said after a win over the Cavs that there’s a double-standard in terms of players and trades. Teams can do whatever they want, while players are unfairly labeled as selfish if they ask for a trade, Green implied.
Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff was asked about Green’s comments, and didn’t exactly say Green was wrong.
“Nobody’s opinion should be muted,” Bickerstaff said. “Obviously there’s conversations that we’ve had with our guys as far as this process goes that everybody’s not privy to. But again, guys have a right to speak their voice, and organizations have to do what’s best for the organization. I think that’s kind of how it works, and it shouldn’t be a two-way street, so to speak.”
The Cavs have just this week begun exploring Drummond trades, with the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers among those said to be interested. If no trade is found, the Cavs are likely to be forced into buying out Drummond’s expiring $28.7 million contract.
But he will not play while team seeks a resolution.
“He’s been great,” Bickerstaff said of Drummond. “He was in the locker room at halftime having conversations with the guys about what he saw on the floor. He was there after the game. He’s been tremendous through this whole thing, and it’s not easy.”
This marks the third time under general manager Koby Altman that Cavaliers have opted to sit a healthy player. They did the same with shooting guard J.R. Smith and shooting guard Kevin Porter Jr., traded to the Houston Rockets last month.
Bickerstaff admitted the current situation surrounding Drummond can be difficult.
“This is not an easy situation, and anybody who says it is would be being dishonest,” Bickerstaff said. “It goes back to how we treat each other, period, as human beings and not just as pieces on a puzzle board. So we have to make sure that we’re doing the right thing by him as well.”
Cavs guard Collin Sexton added that the players are marching on best they can.
“I’m just focused on the season,” he said. “That’s still our guy. I don’t know anything that’s going on in between him and the front office. But I just know that if Andre steps on that court tomorrow with us, we’re gonna go out there and battle with him.
“And whatever happens in summer, we’re gonna go work out with him in the summer. It’s going to be that friendship, that relationship that we’re just gonna continue to build and grow. But whatever they have in the front office with him and Coach, that doesn’t pertain to me.”
Drummond, 27, is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds on the season.
The Cavs (10-19) have lost eight straight and 12 of their previous 14. They host the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.