Lakers Starting Center Signs With Eastern Conference Contender: Report

andre drummond

Getty Andre Drummond with Anthony Davis.

One of the biggest additions made during the last regular season was the Los Angeles Lakers signing Andre Drummond. The two-time All-Star was supposed to give the team a big boost. That didn’t end up being the case as Drummond never seemed to get fully comfortable playing with Anthony Davis.  Drummond was eventually benched for Game 6 of the Lakers’ opening-round playoff loss to Phoenix.

He expressed interest in returning to the team this offseason but the writing was on the wall when the Lakers signed Dwight Howard on August 2. Drummond has quickly found a new home, however. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the center has signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Drummond is leaving one contender for another as the 76ers should be big threats in the Eastern Conference this year. Per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the center is signing for a veteran minimum deal, at $2.6 million.

Drummond mocked the idea of taking a veteran minimum deal with the Lakers earlier in the offseason. It seems like an odd fit for Drummond but he could look to win a championship in Philadelphia while he attempts to restore his value and try again in free agency next summer. His last contract paid him $127 million over five years.

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Drummond Has a History With Joel Embiid

Why Drummond would choose the 76ers is a bit perplexing. They have arguably the best center in the league in Joel Embiid. That means Drummond will be coming off the bench for most of the season. Also, the two big men have a bit of a history. They’ve had many battles as two of the better centers in the Eastern Conference over the last several years.

Embiid has gone out of his way on a number of occasions to throw shade at Drummond. He’s said that the former Laker doesn’t play defense and even tweeted that he owns “a lot of real estate in” Drummond’s head. He even tagged him in that tweet.

The bad blood between them must be in the past or this signing could blow up in Philadelphia’s face. The last thing they need is their two centers at each other’s throats all season.

Lakers Could Be Set at Center

Drummond was a long shot to return after the Lakers signed Howard. The likely starter, Marc Gasol, is coming back as Los Angeles received news that Gasol is planning on playing this season, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

While Gasol was uneven at times last season, he’s a much better fit next to Howard. Montrezl Harrell never fit the Lakers as a backup center, which is why they signed Drummond during the season after he was released by Cleveland.

What Gasol brings to the table is very different from what Howard does. He proved that he can still hit 3-pointers, making 41.0% last season, but his defense isn’t as great as it once was. Howard is 35 now but is still athletic and can be a headache on defense. He also made a staggering 72.9% of his shots two seasons ago with the Lakers. The Lakers should be feeling good about a Howard-Gasol duo.

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