After the expiration of Damian Jones’ 10-day contract, the Los Angeles Lakers will once again have two open roster spots. While they may give Jones another 10 days to prove himself, the likeliest scenario is that the Lakers will go into the trade deadline and beyond with both spots open.
Having two available spots means the Lakers can add multiple impact players from the buyout market. Many names have been thrown around, but one that continues to come up is Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond. At his best, Drummond is one of the most dominant rebounders in the NBA and can clog the paint with his size and strength.
This is exactly the type of big man the Lakers need, but they’re only interested in him if he hits the buyout market. While a trade is unlikely due to his salary, Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that the organization is optimistic they will land him if bought out:
There is optimism within the Lakers that they will get strong consideration from Andre Drummond if Drummond ultimately leaves the Cavaliers via buyout, league sources say.
Cleveland’s preference, of course, remains trading Drummond elsewhere before the March 25 trade deadline.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 8, 2021
Drummond’s $28.7 million price tag makes it effectively impossible for the Lakers to acquire him in a trade. While they would love to have him in the mix, it has to be with a buyout. The Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics could technically get him via trade, but it would also be difficult.
The most likely trade scenario if he’s traded is that he ends up with the New York Knicks. At 19-18, the Knicks are currently the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed, meaning they could potentially contend with a few correct moves at the deadline. They also lead the NBA in cap space with over $15 million, so it would not be very hard for them to figure out a trade.
If the Knicks do not pull the trigger, all things point to Drummond being bought out. At that point, only the Nets and Knicks could offer more than a veteran minimum of all the interested teams.
Jones hoping to give what Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee brought
Since the likelihood of the Lakers snagging Drummond is relatively low, they may as well see what they’ve got in Jones, who has been solid in his short time with the team. He spoke about his role with L.A., saying he wants to bring what their two centers from last season brought. “It’s kind of like the JaVale and Dwight role last year,” Jones said. “How they could catch lobs and protect the rim and stuff like that. I try to bring some of the same things.”
It appears that the Lakers agreed with him when they outlined what his role could look like over the next few games. “They brought up vertical spacing on the offensive end and being able to defend the rim,” Jones relayed.
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