Andre Drummond will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason but it doesn’t sound like the big man has any plans to leave the Los Angeles Lakers.
Drummond averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds after joining the Lakers in March following a buyout agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He started all but one game he played with the Lakers — a coach’s decision DNP in the decisive Game 6 of LA’s first-round playoff series against Phoenix.
Drummond, 27, is a two-time All-Star and four-time NBA rebounds leader. He can also be a valuable paint presence, something the Lakers were missing for most of the year after the departure of both Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee.
The Lakers have been open about wanting Drummond to be a part of the future in Los Angeles and he seems to be on the same page.
“I enjoyed my time being here in Los Angeles. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot being alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and just the whole team in general,” Drummond said during an Instagram Live interview with Aron Cohen of lakersalldayeveryday, an account with more than 300,000 followers. “Their mentality of how they attack the game really changed my perception of how I want to carry myself when it comes to basketball. I think playing-wise, we know a lot of guys were injured and we weren’t at full strength the rest of the year. It’s hard to be out in that first round, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Guys will take care of themselves this summer and we’ll find a way to come back stronger.”
Drummond did not sound like a guy looking to go anywhere else with that statement and appears to want to build something with the Lakers.
Drummond Dubs LeBron James ‘Best Player in the World’
A major draw for Drummond is playing alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James, two All-World players when they’re 100% healthy. The problem was that for the majority of Drummond’s tenure in Los Angeles, both superstars were dealing with ailments.
“Playing alongside LeBron James is a different ball game. It’s every kid’s dream to play with the best player in the world,” Drummond said. “This is an incredible time for me in my career to have the opportunity to play with LeBron James instead of against him. Hopefully, things go the right way and we’ll try to run it back again.”
While the center rotation was messy at times, the Lakers have praised Drummond for what he brought to the table.
“Dre was great for us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said at the end of the year. “Let me start by saying that. We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time. He played well for us, and was a good culture fit. He fit in well with the guys and was very well-liked.
“We said it all all along: We were concerned about how much time we would have to build the cohesion necessary for the playoffs, and with AD being out and Bron really only getting two games with Drum before the playoffs began, we just didn’t have that time to build the cohesiveness that we wanted.”
Drummond Won’t Take Veteran’s Minimum
The Lakers might be able to get Drummond for a bargain, but it won’t be for the veteran’s minimum, which the big man made clear on social media.
Drummond responded to a comment on Instagram urging him to return to the Lakers on a minimum salary next season.
“Re-sign on that minimum,” the comment read. Drummond promptly responded: “You drunk.”
The Lakers reportedly made a promise to start Drummond if he signed with them, leaving them relatively handcuffed when it came to his role. With more time for Drummond to learn the system and build chemistry with James and Davis, things will likely be different.