Andre Drummond is officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and will be joining the team’s lineup soon. The big man is healthy and eager to get back on the court after more than six weeks off since he agreed to part ways with the Cavaliers. With the addition of the two-time All-Star, the Lakers’ incumbent starting center, Marc Gasol, will see his role lessened quite a bit.
Though he was once one of the NBA’s best big men, Gasol hasn’t impressed the Lakers this season. He’s still a capable defender but he’s pretty much a non-factor on offense. Drummond’s athleticism and elite rebounding should give the team a pretty big upgrade at center.
Gasol could still have some value to the team, however. He’s a more skilled defender than Drummond and can hit the occasional three. He’s also a great passer. Regardless, the Lakers might actually consider moving on from Gasol. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, there are those around the league who could see the team buying out the veteran big man.
“As much as Marc Gasol’s subpar contributions helped lead Los Angeles to pursue Drummond, Gasol remains under contract. There remains some speculation from rival executives that he could now come to a buyout agreement with the Lakers,” Fischer wrote.
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Lakers Should Hold Onto Gasol
With the arrival of Drummond, Gasol will have a very small role with the team if he isn’t let go. That’s probably best for him considering he’s 36 years old. While he’s not a super-important player for the Lakers, they should keep him around. He’s a solid veteran with championship experience.
Also, he’s valuable to have around when Los Angeles plays bigger teams like the Denver Nuggets or Philadelphia 76ers. A big reason they won a championship last season was because of their great size with Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. According to head coach Frank Vogel, there’s no plan for them to let go of Gasol.
“He’s loved here. These guys respect him so much. He’s been a true pro in handling this. We’re gonna need all three of our centers throughout this playoff push,” Vogel said Tuesday, via Kyle Goon.
Lakers Do Need to Add Another Piece
Even with the Drummond signing, the Lakers have room to add another piece in free agency. It would be wise to as the team could certainly use more shooting. As good as Drummond is at rebounding, he’s not going to hit very many threes. Shooting from deep is still a big issue for Los Angeles.
At this point in the season, there aren’t many great options available. The Lakers might need to wait to see if there are more buyouts incoming. Otto Porter Jr. would be an ideal fit. He’s an excellent 3-point shooter and a very good wing defender. He was just traded to the Orlando Magic. Considering they aren’t going to sniff the playoffs this season, they could just buy him out.
If that doesn’t happen, the Lakers could look to some players who are already free agents, peraps giving a call to Isaiah Thomas or J.R. Smith.