The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed their desire to bring back the core of this season’s team for next year as they believe they had put together a championship-level roster that was derailed by injuries. One of the biggest question marks in regards to that however, is the future of big man Andre Drummond.
The Lakers brought in Drummond after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers and though there were some ups and downs on the court, truly building chemistry with the team’s superstars was difficult due to constant injuries. The franchise has said since the beginning that the hope is for Drummond to be a long-term piece with the Lakers, but the financial situations make that slightly more complicated.
Of course that wouldn’t be an issue if Drummond were to decide to re-sign with the Lakers on a minimum contract, something a fan suggested on Instagram. But Drummond immediately shut down that idea, via The Hoop Central:
Andre Drummond on IG. ????
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) June 15, 2021
Due to non-Bird rights, the Lakers can only offer Drummond a contract starting at around $2.9 million, which is only slightly higher than the estimated minimum for next season, something Drummond is obviously not interested in. Considering he made just under $29 million last season, dropping all the way down to a minimum deal wouldn’t make sense for Drummond.
His play, even though it wasn’t quite to the level some had hoped for, certainly isn’t that of a minimum salaried player and he is sure to garner interest from different teams around the league as a defender and rebounder. But the question will be what are Drummond’s priorities as a free agent this summer.
Should he be focused on money, there will be many teams who can offer more than the Lakers can. But if he wants the best chance to win a championship and remain part of a culture which he did enjoy in his short time in L.A., the Lakers could offer him the best chance at that.
Drummond says he will continue to play to his strengths
For Drummond in general, a question regarding his future in the NBA is the role of big men. Traditional centers who don’t have a perimeter game, and struggle guarding the perimeter are almost non-existent these days and that has brought questions as to whether Drummond is a fit for this era of the NBA.
But while Drummond will work to improve his game, he insists he will stick to his strengths. “I found a way to stick around this long,” Drummond said. “I’m going to continue to play the game that I know until further notice.
Every team needs a big that can rebound the ball and play defense and score when they’re around the rim. I’m going to continue to play my game and work on different parts of my game to expand as well when that number is called to do something differently. It won’t be foreign to me. I’m going to continue to play my game the way I know.”
Trying to significantly alter what he does would likely lead to an even worse outcome for the big man so Drummond is wise to focus on what he does best.
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