According to NBA sources, Knights center Mitchell Robinson’s broken leg came too late in the Andre Drummond sweepstakes.
Drummond had already set his heart on the Lakers. By late Saturday night things had gone too far with him, which had become a verbal commitment to the Lakers, although he did not approve of the Waves until 5pm on Sunday evening.
“Andre was not coming to NYC, because the Lakers found it serious,” an NBA source said.
The Usino star, former Drummond, is looking to win a title and considers LeBron James an idol of his.
In truth, even after Robinson went down, the Knicks did not attempt much, as Knicks coach Tom Thibodo did not put much emphasis on it.
As The Post reported, the Knicks began losing interest in the Mount Vernon native to enter Saturday’s matchup in Milsuki, realizing they would be unhappy if Drummond wasn’t going to start later.
And sources say Chairman Leon Rose and Thibodo are very concerned about keeping the locker room happy, with evidence of them taking out Austin divers.
The Knicks had planned to start the rest of Robinson’s season to give the franchise an estimate of its future value. If Drummond was offered a starting job, he would probably be a knight.
If they wanted to, they could take Drummond out of the water every day. After Thursday’s trades, the Knicks have $ 13.5 million in cap space, and since they are below the cap, none of the offers are pro-rated.
The only cut would be a set-off for Cleveland. For example, if the Knicks offered $ 8 million for Drummond, according to EXPN’s cap guru Bobby Marks, Netmond would receive $ 4.7 million following the complicated set-off formula.
In contrast, Drummond’s $ 2 million minimum deal with the Lakers – because they are above the cap – would net him only in real dollars, $ 794,000.
The Knicks have two roster openings and, with Robinson regularly done for the season, they will add another center – possibly on a 10-day contract. The Knicks had hoped to sign Thibodo’s former big man Gorgui Dieng, but sources said he preferred to play for the San Antonio program with Gregg Popovich as a safe haven for the Giants.
The Nucks has expressed interest in young shot-blocker Norwell Pelé. John Henson, Dwayne Dedmon, Thon Maker, Jordan Bell and DeMark Cousins are currently free agents.
Shot-blocker Hassan Whiteside can still be bought by Sacramento and seems to fit Thibodo’s rim-protecting mold. Despite their baggage the Nucks are at least cousins.
Thibodo prefers to be a defensive center for this group along with All-Star power forward Julius Randle, and wasn’t sure if Drummond was the right fit after watching the film and brass later in the last few weeks. In the end the Knicks will have plenty of cap room on draft night to potentially make the deal easier.
In a statement, Lakers president Rob Pelinka said of Drummond: “Andre Drummond has given us powerful, anchor-point skills at both ends of the court. We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to his core group at this stage of his journey to defend the NBA title. “