Last winter, Knicks brass internally mentioned buying and selling for Detroit heart Andre Drummond, who had an opt-out clause to turn out to be a free agent.

The Knicks weren’t too apprehensive about retaining Drummond if he opted out. The Mount Vernon native, the Knicks believed, in all probability would wish to re-sign along with his hometown group.

In reality, then-Knicks president Steve Mills is near Drummond’s household.

Eventually, the Knicks determined towards it, dedicated to a rebuild and heart Mitchell Robinson. On Feb. 6, Drummond was dealt to the Cavaliers. He exercised his $28.7 million possibility for 2020-21 due to the shortened pandemic free company, and remained in Cleveland.

Flash ahead a yr later and the Cavaliers try to commerce the previous UConn star, too, as a rental. They benched the two-time All-Star this week till they decide to a deal.

The Raptors, sources verify, are within the bidding. But it’s not a simple monetary commerce with Drummond’s sizable wages.

As Robinson leaves the Hospital for Special Surgery after the operation on his capturing hand, out till mid-to-late March, the Knicks ought to check out Drummond – not simply as a rental however a bit to construct round with energy ahead Julius Randle.

Some members of the Knicks group aren’t positive Randle and Drummond would make the correct match. Some within the league really feel Robinson is a greater long-term piece to construct round, regardless of his lack of development offensively.

Will Robinson proceed to evolve his sport into greater than only a shotblocker/rebounder/alley-oop grasp? The Knicks have a group possibility for Robinson for subsequent season at $1.8 million, to allow them to discover out on a budget.

Andre Drummond performs with the Cleveland Cavaliers.Getty PhotosThe Knicks nonetheless have $15 million of cap area to make a Drummond commerce simpler mathematically. They’ve stockpiled sufficient draft capital that some may be spared. There are additionally two kids out of the rotation whom the Cavaliers may need a hankering for – Kevin Knox or Frank Ntilikina.

If Drummond comes low cost, what do the Knicks need to lose in the event that they discover he and Randle don’t combine?

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has squeezed each ounce of expertise out of this group. They had been on the verge of the .500 mark in Orlando Wednesday earlier than their putrid 33-point second half.

In reality, the Knicks have overachieved at 14-16, more healthy than most golf equipment this season.

Robinson was the primary necessary casualty and his absence lastly harm them in Orlando. No straightforward rubbish buckets off offensive rebounds, alley-oop slams, momentum-turning blocked photographs or key defensive rebounds. New starter Nerlens Noel is a poor man’s Robinson and does every thing rather less effectively.

Mind you, Robinson isn’t a positive factor as a full-blown starter on a legit playoff group. Rookie lottery choose and energy ahead Obi Toppin, isn’t a positive factor as a future starter, plucked out of, as one scout stated, “a traditionally dangerous draft.”

Robinson has been oft-injured due to the reckless – and fantastic – manner he performs and battles. He flies across the court docket, blocking photographs on the 3-point line. He broke his hand on a block try as he collided with Randle’s elbow on the best way down Friday in Washington.

Robinson is an old-school heart and so is the wrecking-ball Drummond, although Drummond’s sport is rising at age 27. Robinson’s offensive repertoire has not grown.

Drummond has been a double-double machine for a number of years, however now he shoots free throws higher (59.7 %). Scouts say he is without doubt one of the few facilities who can seize a rebound and push the ball upcourt. He has ball-handing abilities and he’s turn out to be an excellent passer.

Drummond’s stout numbers have at all times appeared bigger than the general image, however he’s averaging 17.5 factors, 13.5 rebounds and a couple of.6 assists. He’s additionally been very sturdy throughout his nine-year profession.

According to sources, the Knicks are “sitting tight for now” relating to the middle state of affairs. They wish to see the Noel-Taj Gibson heart tandem play out as they battle for a playoff berth.

Before beating the Knicks, Orlando coach Steve Clifford paid them tribute, saying “They’d be one of many groups individuals don’t wish to play towards. I don’t suppose there’s a much bigger praise on this league than being exhausting to play towards.”

At some level, Leon Rose must improve their expertise degree. Orlando routed the Knicks with out their greatest participant, Aaron Gordon, key rotation man James Ennis and place to begin guard Markelle Fultz.

Even Jeff Van Gundy stated just lately that the Knicks “don’t have sufficient offensive expertise.” Meanwhile, the 2021 free-agent class the Knicks had been eyeing after a quiet signing interval in November has dried up.

Thibodeau desires to win this season – and sooner or later. The child from Mount Vernon will help the Knicks do each.