LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t live up to expectations and opted to sign with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent.
Andre Drummond appears to be heading to where he was long rumored to land, with LeBron James in Los Angeles. Sources had told NBC Sports that the Lakers appeared to be in the driver’s seat on Friday, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tonight said the Lakers are “strong pioneers” in signing Drummond.
The Lakers’ star players and the front office have been recruiting Drummond hard, selling him a chance to break into the defending champion’s starting lineup, sources said. The Lakers have had an inconsistent center game with Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell this season, and Drummond’s ability to protect the paint and rebound would allow him to make a significant impact.
The Lakers can only offer Drummond the prorated minimum of veterans, but for him it’s not about the money – he can chase a ring and increase his free-agent actions, showing what he can do in a role for a contending team.
Drummond, who agreed to a buyout with the Cavaliers, averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game this season, is an elite rebounder and a solid deployable tire protector – all things the Lakers would appreciate. Drummond doesn’t fit all teams, his old-school game that doesn’t space the court, and he likes the post touches and some isolation plays that require it, and there are legitimate concerns about his pick-and-roll defense. That said, if you play well for the Lakers, you’ll see better deals in the offseason.
With the Lakers, he would be an improvement for the rest of this season and could help in specific games well into the postseason. However, the further the Lakers get into the playoffs, the more Anthony Davis will play center, who remains the Lakers’ best lineup.