The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be linked to Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, but it remains to be seen if the two-time All-Star will be dealt by the NBA trade deadline. Drummond’s $28.7 million salary means the Lakers are only in contention for the big man if he receives a buyout. During a recent episode of The Woj Pod, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted the Lakers and Nets are at the “top of the list” to sign Drummond if he receives a buyout from the Cavs.
“Cleveland with Andre Drummond, the expectation of most people is it ends up in a buyout, that a trade at his salary is too difficult,” Wojnarowski detailed. “I do think there’s a couple of things on the board possibly maybe in three-way situations where they can get enough salaries moved around. Ultimately, all Cleveland’s really going to try to get out of this is what they put into it last year when traded [for] him from Detroit. If they can get a second-round pick for him, and not have to do the buyout and get some value back for him, I think they’ll do it. It’s just going to be hard at his salary. If he decides he wants to go on the buyout market, certainly Lakers, Nets are at the top of the list for him there.”
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Drummond Has More Value to the Lakers Than the Nets, Says Woj
The Lakers appear to be in a bit of an arms race with the Nets for available players both in the trade and buyout markets. Wojnarowski believes the Lakers would have an edge on the Nets for Drummond’s services.
“I think Drummond has more value to the Lakers right now,” Wojnarowski added. “He goes to the Lakers, he’s starting at center for them. Not sure about that in Brooklyn, maybe, but you still have DeAndre Jordan there and Blake Griffin once he gets healthy playing some small-ball center. But certainly, there will be great interest with him there and also, of course, the Lakers.”
Cleveland is sitting Drummond until the team finds a new home for the center. Drummond is averaging 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 25 starts for the Cavs this season.
The Cavs Preference Is to Trade Drummond
The Cavaliers would prefer to trade Drummond in order to receive something in return for the center rather than agreeing to a buyout. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Knicks are a team who has shown an interest in acquiring Drummond as well.
“The Lakers and Nets are believed to be Drummond’s top suitors should he receive a contract buyout after the trade deadline, but the Cavaliers are steadfast about finding a trade for the center,” Charania noted. “The Knicks have also explored the possibility of adding Drummond, and potentially offering him a multiyear deal as a free agent via buyout, sources said. The Cavaliers have so far sought an asset back in any Drummond deal — such as a second-round pick, sources said — but rival teams are skeptical about Cleveland’s ability to find one in a trade. Drummond is on an expiring contract worth $28.7 million.”