The 2021 trade deadline is fast approaching, and with it comes buyout season, where players who were unable to be traded become free agents after agreements with their current team. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets — championship contenders who could benefit from adding 1-2 more pieces — are expected to be firmly involved in the race for buyout players.
One of the biggest names that could hit free agency after March 25th’s deadline is Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond. At just 27 years of age, Drummond has been one of the NBA’s best rebounders since his arrival to the league in 2012. If the Cavaliers fail to find a trade partner, he will likely become a free agent for anyone to sign.
If that happens, the Lakers and Nets are reportedly his two top suitors, even if the Cavaliers would rather strike a deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The Lakers and Nets are believed to be Drummond’s top suitors should he receive a contract buyout after the trade deadline, but the Cavaliers are steadfast about finding a trade for the center.
If it truly is down to just the Lakers and the Nets, there is no telling where Drummond will end up. The Nets can offer him more money — up to $5.7 million — than the Lakers, who will only be able to offer a veteran minimum.
However, the Lakers can likely offer more minutes and a more defined role. The Nets already have DeAndre Jordan and play Jeff Green and Blake Griffin as small-ball centers. L.A. has Marc Gasol, who reportedly has been underwhelming from the front office’s perspective. If the Lakers are willing to offer Gasol’s spot in the starting lineup to Drummond, it could help their case.
The Lakers will be tied to almost any available player over the next couple of weeks, so it will be on Rob Pelinka and the front office to make smart decisions that bolster the roster before the postseason begins.
Lakers optimistic Drummond will sign in L.A.
Rumors have been swirling for a little while connecting Drummond to the Lakers, even with the Nets lurking. If he gets bought out by the Cavaliers, there is significant optimism within the Lakers organization that Drummond will sign there.
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