After striking out at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers need to turn their focus to the buyout market. Fortunately, there should be some really strong options available to the team. The biggest name to keep an eye on is Andre Drummond.
The Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Friday that they’ve officially agreed on a buyout with the two-time All-Star.
That means he’ll be ready to hit free agency soon and will have plenty of options. The Lakers have long been connected to Drummond this season. They would really like to add another center and he’s the best that will be available to them. Drummond is planning on meeting with multiple teams, but apparently, Lakers players have already started to recruit him, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“They’re really focused on Andre Drummond right now,” Wojnarowski said Friday. “I know the Laker players have been trying to recruit him to L.A. Certainly there is an opportunity for him to step right in and become the starting center there. That Lakers team has missed the rim protection and how hard it was to get to the basket and get in the paint with Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. It’s been a lot easier this year with Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, and so Drummond gives them that dimension.”
Drummond will have plenty of suitors but perhaps the Lakers players can push him in the right direction.
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Lakers Are Front Runners for Drummond
There are teams that could easily offer Drummond more money than the Lakers could. However, Los Angeles could offer him a substantial role on a possible championship team. Considering he’ll likely be a free agent at the end of the season, it would help his brand quite a bit to be a key contributor on a championship team.
Drummond clearly knows this and that could give the Lakers a big advantage. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles is the front runner to land the center.
Things haven’t been going well for the Lakers lately. They couldn’t trade for Kyle Lowry and LeBron James and Anthony Davis are hurt. Landing Drummond would be a big win for a team that really needs one.
Is Drummond Actually a Difference-Maker for the Lakers?
Though Drummond is a two-time All-Star, he does have his issues. He doesn’t shoot threes and he’s never been part of an elite team. It’s a lot easier to pack on stats when there’s not a ton of talent to share the ball with.
That said, coming to the Lakers could be a great move for both sides. Drummond is one of the greatest rebounds in NBA history. His career average of 13.8 rebounds a game is currently eighth all-time. He’s also a solid scorer as he averages 14.6 points a game over his career. Marc Gasol was once a great player but it’s clear that he’s past his prime. Drummond would be a big upgrade at starting center and won’t cost much. It’s not likely that he ends up staying in Los Angeles long-term, but he’d be a great one-year rental for the team as they pursue another championship.