The Cleveland Cavaliers decided to sit Andre Drummond until they can find a suitor for him before the NBA trade deadline. This did not sit well with Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, who believes this is the latest example of teams treating players improperly.
During the Warriors’ 129-98 win over the Cavaliers, Green saw firsthand Drummond having to dress for the game and sit on the sidelines watching the action despite being completely healthy.
After the game, Draymond Green shared his thoughts about Drummond’s situation with the media — likening it to various other incidents of NBA teams treating players unfairly. Green feels as though the league needs to step in to better protect the players.
“I would like to talk about something that’s really bothering me, and that’s the treatment of players in this league. To watch Andre Drummond before the game sit on the sideline, then go to the back and come out in street clothes because a team is going to trade him. Because when James Harden asked for a trade, and essentially dogged it, I don’t think anyone is going to fight that James was dogging it his last days in Houston. But he was castrated for wanting to go to a different team. Everybody destroyed that man, and yet a team can come out and say ‘oh we want to trade a guy,’ and then that guy is to go sit, and if he doesn’t stay professional, then he’s a cancer, he’s not good in someone’s locker room, and he’s the issue.
“We’ve seen situations of Harrison Barnes getting pulled off of the bench, DeMarcus Cousins finding out that he got traded in an interview after the All-Star Game, and we continue to let this happen, but I got fined for stating my opinion on what I thought should happen with another player, but teams can come out and continue to say ‘oh, we’re trading guys, we’re not playing you,’ and yet we’re to stay professional.
“At some point, as players, we need to be treated with the same respect and have the same rights that the team can have, because as a player, you’re the worst person in the world when you want a different situation, but a team can say that they’re trading you, and that man is to stay in shape, he is to stay professional, and if not, his career is on the line. At some point, this league has to protect the players from embarrassment like that.
“We talk all of this stuff about, ‘you can’t do this,’ ‘you can’t say that publicly,’ ‘if you say that publicly you’re fined.’ Anthony Davis got fined I think $100,000 or something like that for demanding a trade publicly, but you can say ‘Andre Drummond is getting traded’ publicly, and ‘we’re looking to trade him’ publicly, and he’s to stay professional and just deal with it? Then when Kyrie Irving says ‘my mental health is off,’ everyone goes crazy about that too. Do you not think that affects someone mentally? As much as we put into this game, to be great, to come out here and be in shape, to produce for fans every single night, and most importantly, to help your team win, do you not think that doesn’t affect someone mentally?
“But as players, we’re told ‘oh no, you can’t say that, you can’t say this,’ but teams can? It goes along the same lines of when everyone wants to say ‘ah man, that young guy can’t figure it out,’ but no one wants to say the organization can’t figure it out. At some point the players must be respected in these situations, and it’s ridiculous and I’m sick of seeing it.”
While some of the examples that Draymond Green mentioned do warrant some criticism, there seems to be a disconnect. The Cavaliers did not announce publicly their intention to trade Andre Drummond, just as the superstars who apply pressure in the media by leaking information didn’t technically outright announce their desire to leave their team.
The Cavaliers have every right to do what they feel is best for their organization. If Andre Drummond is upset about his situation in Cleveland, he should consider reaching a buyout agreement. A team not feeling as though it’s worth paying him $28.7M to be a key player for their franchise is a direct indictment on Drummond’s lack of impact on the game of basketball.
Simply put, the Cleveland Cavaliers are best suited not playing Andre Drummond over Jarrett Allen or their younger options. What Draymond Green failed to mention is that Drummond’s poor attitude and need to be sat down multiple times by their head coach to get him back on track has made him a problem in the locker room.
The way both teams and players handle themselves is never going to be perfect. Take Draymond Green’s Warriors, for example. Kevin Durant was cleared to play in the NBA Finals despite being at risk for an Achilles injury and later suffered that major injury. Or, take when the Warriors traded two of their veteran contributors, Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks, midseason last year despite their positive locker room and on-court contributions, for measly second round picks.
Robinson III was a particularly interesting case because he had been an NBA journeyman and appeared to have finally found a home during a career-year. He was praised for his locker room contributions more than any role player in recent memory. He publicly expressed his desire to stay with the Warriors organization and had shown intriguing potential, but was traded before the deadline. Was that really all that fair?