The Los Angeles Lakers want Andre Drummond back next season but it will have to be at the right price.
And that price will not be at the veteran’s minimum, at least if Drummond has his way. The 27-year-old former All-Star 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 signed Drummond last season after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He signed a deal for the rest of the season and his tenure was rocky, at best. Drummond averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds while with the Lakers, taking over a starting role.
However, Drummond never seemed to mesh into the Lakers system, which became especially true in the playoffs. In the deciding Game 6 against the Suns, Drummond did not see the court.
There was also the fact that the presence of Drummond in the starting lineup rattled the rotation and the roles of Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell.
The Lakers reportedly made a promise to start Drummond if he signed with them, leaving them relatively handcuffed when it came to his role.
“Those two guys are incredible professionals,” Drummond said. “They were very supportive when I came in despite me having the starter minutes and playing the role for this team. They were very professional and very helpful for me. Even for me, when the situation turned the other way where I was coming off the bench and wasn’t playing a lot and those guys were playing.
“We just did a great job of supporting each other making sure each and every one of us felt the positivity that we wanted the other guys to succeed.”
Andre Drummond Would Like to Play With Anthony Davis
A draw for the Lakers was playing Drummond alongside Anthony Davis, who was banged up for much of the year, mostly with a calf/Achilles tendon injury. The pair played only 13 regular-season games together. Drummond felt the duo did not even scratch the surface of what they could be.
“There were glimpses. We all saw it. There were bright spots throughout the year where we did play together and great things happened, but you can’t expect two guys that play in the paint to get adjusted in six weeks. It’s something that’s going to take some time,” Drummond told reporters in his exit interview.
“We’ve got to have a training camp together, preseason and even the regular season to work on things like that to build that kind of chemistry. But I think he and I did a great job of adjusting well to each other with the time that we had.”
Davis was injured in Game 4 of the series against Phoenix, returned briefly before the playoffs but was injured again in Game 6.
Lakers Valued What Andre Drummond Brought to the Table
Considering how the Lakers have lauded Drummond for his efforts while in purple and gold, there may not be a better fit for the big man basketball-wise. And with the proper time to teach and integrate him into the system, Drummond could be a valuable asset to the team.
“Dre was great for us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, echoing the sentiment from Drummond that he never got enough time to work with James and Davis. “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.”
That being said, Drummond sounds adamant that he wants to test the market, which hasn’t been kind to big men in recent years. Because of their payroll situation and more important impending free agents — Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dennis Schroder — Drummond’s only path to staying in L.A. could be through a veteran minimum contract worth about $2.5 million.
“I found a way to stick around this long,” said Drummond, who has made more than $136 million in his career. “I’m going to continue to play the game that I know until further notice. Every team needs a big that can rebound the ball well, play defense, and score around the rim.”
The Lakers have to be careful with their spending their offseason as they build around Davis and James, so we’ll see what kind of offer the team has in place for Drummond.