Andre Drummond, who was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, has now cleared waivers and officially become a free agent. However, his free agency did not last long, as it has been announced that the Los Angeles Lakers will sign him to a veteran minimum contract for the remainder of the season.
Things had been heading in this direction for quite some time. Even before Drummond was bought out, there was clear and significant interest from the Lakers’ side. It was reported that players had spent time recruiting Drummond to L.A., and it appears those efforts have paid off.
Now, Drummond will likely slide into the starting lineup, replacing Marc Gasol, who will come off the bench and likely play in spot minutes alongside Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Talen Horton-Tucker.
Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka talked about what Drummond will bring to the team.
“Andre Drummond gives us powerful, anchor-point skills on both ends of the court. We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to our core group at this stage of our journey to defend the NBA title.”
While a flawed player, Drummond definitely solves one of the Lakers’ major needs. After being the best rim protecting team in the NBA in 2020, their paint protection has slipped up without a true rebounder and shot-blocker in the middle. Drummond is one of the best rebounders of the modern era and should quickly help clean things up in the paint.
In nine NBA seasons, Drummond has career averages of 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game on 53.8% from the field. This season with the Cavaliers saw a bit of a dropoff in his efficiency, but he was still scoring and rebounding at a significant clip.
While there are legitimate concerns about Drummond as a player, his fit on the Lakers is undeniable. He can especially make an impact with the help of Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who has a history of transforming centers into their best possible self. His biggest examples of this are Dwight Howard in 2020 and Roy Hibbert during his time with the Indiana Pacers.
With this signing, the Lakers now have 14 roster spots filled, so they can sign one more player to a veteran minimum deal. Given L.A. got the most coveted big man on the market, it’s likely they will turn their attention to a 3-and-D wing defender.
LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Nets
One of the names tied to the Lakers outside of Drummond was that of LaMarcus Aldridge. The former All-Star also reached a buyout agreement with the San Antonio Spurs and was linked to the Lakers, Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers and Brooklyn Nets.
The Heat were considered the favorites to sign him, but he surprised many by picking the Nets. He now joins a team that has Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin and others.
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