The excitement is palpable around the Los Angeles Lakers as they landed Andre Drummond after he agreed to a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Drummond had several suitors after his buyout was completed, but chose to come to the Lakers, where he will immediately come in and start. The 27-year-old is nearly unstoppable when it comes to grabbing rebounds and has quick hands and feet he can utilize on the defensive end.
The center was signed to a contract for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, but when asked about his future in Los Angeles, head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged he would like to see Drummond wearing Purple and Gold for the foreseeable future. “That’s certainly what we’re hopeful for,” Vogel said.
“This summer will play out and we’ll let that happen when it happens, but we want him to help us during this championship run this season. But we’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time to come. That’s what we’re envisioning and we think he’s going to be a key piece for us both in the short team and in the long term.”
Drummond was also asked about his Lakers future but decided to focus on today instead. “For me, I’m just focused on wearing a Lakers jersey right now,” Drummond said. “When the time comes for the next decision, we’ll cross that bridge. But as of right now, my main focus is helping this team win as many games as possible.”
Drummond has said all the right things since arriving in Los Angeles, but it is fair to wonder whether or not he will have any interest in remaining with the team beyond this season. While retaining Drummond would be ideal, the Lakers will be facing a salary cap crunch ahead of the 2021-2022 season.
L.A. has about $123 million in salary already committed to the roster, meaning they will only have the taxpayer’s Mid-Level Exception ($6 million) available to sign Drummond with. The Lakers could conceivably make more room to sign him to a bigger deal, but that would require getting rid of most of the roster outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Andre Drummond still a worthy one-year rental
Although Drummond is likely to depart in free agency, grabbing him off the buyout market was still worth it. It is extremely rare players of his talent and caliber are available midseason, and he should be able to make an impact as soon as he steps onto the court.
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