The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to sit Andre Drummond as they work to trade him before the March 25 deadline, and Draymond Green sharply criticized that decision Monday night.
The Warriors star was bothered that a team can state publicly plans to trade a player without penalty while players are fined if they demand to be traded. Addressing reporters after a 129-98 win over the Cavaliers at Chase Center, Green cited James Harden, who was criticized for his exit from the Houston Rockets, while discussing the situation unfolding in Cleveland.
“To watch Andre Drummond before the game, sit on the sidelines, then go to the back and then come out in street clothes because the team is going to trade him is (expletive),” Green said.
Drummond, 27, hasn’t played in two straight games after Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman decided the two-time All-Star would no longer be active for games but would remain with the team until a deal can be worked out.
“Sometimes you’re forced into difficult positions that are not easy to navigate,” said Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “But in respect to (Drummond) and all that he’s done and accomplished and as much as he’s helped us, we thought this was the fairest thing to do for him.”
According to ESPN, the Cavaliers are not having any “serious ongoing discussions with any team.” Drummond’s future came into question last month when Cleveland traded for 22-year-old center Jarrett Allen. Drummond, who is making $28.7 million this season, will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
If a trade cannot be reached by the deadline — which is more than a month away — a contract buyout could be Drummond’s only option if he wants to play again ahead of his free agency.
“At some point, as players we need to be treated with the same respect and have the same rights that the team can have,” Green said. “Because as a player, you’re the worst person in the world when you want a different situation, but a team can say they’re trading you and that man has to stay in shape, he has to stay professional and, if not, his career is on the line.”
Over the years, star players have become increasingly determined to shape their careers by angling their way to preferred destinations. In 2019, Anthony Davis was fined $50,000 for demanding a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. In December, Harden was also fined $50,000, though the listed reason was for a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocol when he wasn’t available to start the season.
Green also referred to the mental toll a career of uncertainty can have on players. He pointed to examples of teams blindsiding players, such as when DeMarcus Cousins found out he was being traded from Sacramento after the 2017 All-Star Game, or Harrison Barnes being traded from the Mavericks in the middle of a close game in 2019.
“Do you think that doesn’t affect someone mentally? But as players we’re told you can’t say that, you can’t say this, but teams can,” Green said. “At some point the players must be respected in these situations.
“It’s ridiculous and I’m sick of seeing it.”
Contributed by local news sources