Don’t expect center Andre Drummond to suit up for the Knicks anytime soon.
Despite a report in the Los Angeles Times that the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks are the top three contenders to sign Drummond in the buyout market, the Knicks are against outbidding the other two clubs in an attempt to save their cap space.
Anything can happen with Drummond this summer in free agency, but Knicks decision-makers, after going back and forth for weeks, are leaning against a big move with the former Cavalier, according to NBA sources.
The Celtics met with Drummond on Friday and could be the favorites for the former Connecticut star and Mount Vernon native.
Knicks brass has watched plenty of film on Drummond in recent weeks in analyzing whether he would make a good fit with Julius Randle and would be worth putting Mitchell Robinson on the bench.
The Knicks believe Drummond is going to want to start, but the Knicks have visions of closing the season with the young, shot-blocking Robinson in the starting lineup. Center Nerlens Noel has been huge off the bench and was strong in a starting role when Robinson missed 15 games after surgery on a right-hand fracture.
The Knicks still are in the buyout market. Jeff Teague, who was Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau’s point guard in Minnesota, as well as small forward Otto Porter and center Gordon Dieng, are expected to be Knicks targets, an NBA source said.
Drummond is a terrific rebounder, but he’s not considered an elite rim protector or defender. Thibodeau is very big on defensive centers — which is why he is in love with Noel and Robinson.
The Knicks have $15 million in cap space and could easily outbid Boston, the Lakers and Clippers. But they also could use that $15 million of space on draft night to easily make a trade while almost every other team would be over the cap.
Third-string center Taj Gibson’s performance in the win over the Wizards on Thursday might have sealed the deal on the Knicks losing some interest in Drummond. Gibson grabbed seven offensive rebounds, had two blocks and scored 10 points in the comeback victory, and Thibodeau was raving about him after the game.