SAN FRANCISCO — Following Friday’s loss against the Portland Trail Blazers, in which a disengaged and frustrated Andre Drummond sat on the bench away from his teammates during some timeouts, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the organization wasn’t afraid of tough decisions.
Sitting Drummond certainly backs that up.
“We discussed it as a group and front office. We had the conversation with Andre and his representation and thought we came to the right conclusion that was best for everybody,” Bickerstaff said ahead of Monday’s road trip finale against the Golden State Warriors. “I have a ton of respect for Andre as a human being and as a basketball player and we always want to do what’s right by our guys.
“Sometimes you’re forced into difficult positions that’s not easy to navigate. But in respect to ‘Dre 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.”
Drummond, who was held out Sunday to rest, will not dress against Golden State. The Cavs will determine the other particulars in the coming days, when they return to Cleveland following more than a week on the road. They will talk through every possibility with Drummond and his agent.
This much is clear: A little more than a year after acquiring him from the Detroit Pistons in a stunning deadline deal, Drummond has played his final game with the Cavs. The front office will now attempt to find a trade partner before the March 25 deadline.
“Obviously none of us wanted it to come to this,” Bickerstaff admitted. “I think you can let ‘Dre speak for himself, but we had a good relationship. He liked it here in Cleveland. So it was not something that was easily decided upon. Obviously we felt the same way about ‘Dre. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about him. A lot of our early success was on his back on both ends of the floor. We tried to make it work to the extent of trying to play those guys together, all those things, but it just didn’t work out. I genuinely care about ‘Dre and have a good relationship with him, so that makes it even more difficult.”
Sources tell cleveland.com Bickerstaff had to speak with Drummond a few times about his commitment at both ends of the floor following Jarrett Allen’s arrival in January. That’s when things started to turn. Drummond, who played well early in the season, suddenly felt unwanted, became upset and let those emotions impact his performance, making it tough for the Cavs to view him as helpful anymore.
But Bickerstaff said Drummond remained respectful to coaches and teammates — even Sunday night, when he supported from the bench, something that is expected to continue during this hiatus.
“He’s been a great teammate in the entirety of his time here in Cleveland,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s got great relationships with his teammates, from top down. And he’s supportive of those guys. He is a really good person. I don’t expect that to change. Difficult? Yes. I don’t want to deny that. It’s not easy, I’m sure. But he has been great with his teammates and engaging with his teammates as well.” Read from source….