The Los Angeles Lakers made a statement of intent winning the race for Andre Drummond, the biggest prize of the buyout market.
L.A. played the waiting game signing center Damian Jones to two 10-day contracts while hoping the Cleveland Cavaliers would fail to find a trade partner for the two-time All-Star and then end up buying him out.
The Lakers felt confident they would convince Drummond to pick them over the L.A. Clippers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks by offering prospects of a serious title run and a spot in the starting lineup.
And the strategy worked out perfectly as the 27-year-old paint beast is headed to Staples Center, adding the much-needed size and rim protection that appeared to have been the Achilles’ heel of the defending NBA champions this season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Drummond agreed to a contract allowing L.A. to sign him despite their difficult cap space situation:
Once Andre Drummond clears waivers at 5 PM ET, he intends to sign with the Lakers, his agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelbasketball tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 28, 2021
Long-term Lakers target LaMarcus Aldridge also ended up on the buyout market with rumors claiming L.A. planned to reach out to the 35-year-old center. But the former San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers star wound up signing with the Brooklyn Nets instead, making the Lakers landing Drummond that much more important
The Lakers can finally celebrate a moment of joy after a rough stretch during which they lost Anthony Davis and LeBron James to injuries and then failed to bring in Kyle Lowry before the trade deadline. L.A. has one more open roster spot meaning their search of personnel upgrades might not be over yet.
It has been speculated that Avery Bradley, who was traded to the Houston Rockets on the trade deadline day, could also be headed for a buyout opening the door for a potential Lakers reunion.
James reportedly out for up to six weeks with ankle sprain
Drummond’s arrival adds the star power the Lakers are currently lacking with James and Davis remaining on the injury list. The 36-year-old All-Star could reportedly miss between four to six weeks after he sprained his ankle in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks last weekend.
Davis, nursing a calf injury, seems to be ahead of James in his recovery as he was just cleared to begin ramping up his work on the court.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!