Andre Drummond’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers did not go the way he envisioned as he and the team were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs by the Phoenix Suns.
Drummond showed flashes of how he could help the Lakers but ultimately did not get a chance to truly acclimate with the team. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Drummond make up the most physically imposing frontcourt in the league and that should be something he and the team should consider when free agency begins.
Head coach Frank Vogel was pleased with the center and went so far as to say he hopes he is with the Purple and Gold for the long haul.
“Dre was great for us. Let me start by saying that,” Vogel said. “We’re hopeful he’s a Laker for a long time. Really played well for us and was a good culture fit. Fit in well with the guys and was very well-liked.”
One snag in negotiations could be the fact that Drummond did not play in Game 6, but Vogel explained his decision. “With AD being out and Bron really only getting two games with Drumm before the playoffs began, we just didn’t have that time to build the cohesiveness that we wanted and with our backs against the wall and the team struggling to score with AD out, we looked in another direction for offense both Marc [Gasol] starting to pull [Deandre] Ayton away from the basket and we got a proven scorer in Montrezl Harrell that we decided to go to, but it wasn’t anything that Drumm did wrong or anything like that just trying to open up our offense,” Vogel said. “Give us the best chance to win.”
Given that Drummond took less money to sign with L.A. after his buyout, it stands to reason that he will return. However, it will be interesting to see if a deal actually gets done in the offseason.
Pelinka evaluates Drummmond’s first year with Lakers
Like Vogel, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka was impressed with Drummond’s stint with the Lakers. “Andre Drummond is a great young player. Obviously he’s a couple years removed from being an All-Star,” Pelinka said. “Just his ability to rebound the ball and protect the rim and give us athleticism and size in the paint was an essential ingredient to add to the team and something that we would do again and again.
“I think Andre’s time here was really good, we had a great exit interview today and just talked about the fact that of course he had a couple months where he didn’t play until we got here and there was a process of onboarding and getting in shape and getting acclimated to the guys. But we’re proud of some of the big games and big moments he had along the way both in the regular season and in the playoffs and really appreciate his choosing the Lakers and the contributions he made with us.”
Drummond has also expressed interest in returning to the Lakers, so it will be interesting to see if the two sides can make it work despite some hurdles in place.