Andre Drummond’s Contract With Lakers Has Interesting Wrinkle

Getty Images Lakers center Andre Drummond.

The Los Angeles Lakers landed Andre Drummond for just peanuts after the two-time All-Star big man agreed to a contract buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Drummond inked a deal with the Lakers for just $794,536 — the prorated veteran’s minimum. It turns out that’s exactly the amount Drummond gave back to the Cavaliers in his buyout agreement, per John Hollinger of The Athletic.

Drummond has already made more than $136 million in his career. And at just 27 years old, he has an opportunity to make even more depending on how things go with the Lakers. So not only does that give LA a player who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds, but Drummond also has a major incentive to perform well.

“It’s been almost a month [and] 10-plus days since I last played. You can imagine the hunger and excitement I have to play and step on the court,” Drummond told reporters during his introductory press conference. “I had an incredible month of work where I’m ready to play today.”

Drummond Says Lakers Were ‘Best Fit’

The Cavs could not find a suitor via trade for Drummond and his $28 million contract, leading to the buyout. Once he cleared waivers, the four-time NBA rebounding leader had multiple suitors, including the Nets, Celtics, Knicks and Lakers.

Ultimately, Drummond picked LA as his next stop, hungry for a deep postseason run.

“For me, I just thought it was the best fit,” Drummond said. “I think, being here, I’m able to come in right away and impact this team defensively — just with my toughness on both sides of the court, but mainly defensively, coming here to be that anchor for his team.

“Just having that playoff experience but not having success was something I was hungry for,” he added. “I was hungry to get back in the playoffs again and really get a true experience of what it’s like to play on the biggest stage.”

Lakers Thrilled to Have Drummond for Title Defense

The Lakers are ecstatic to have Drummond on the roster, giving them a new weapon to work with in the paint.

“Andre Drummond gives us powerful, anchor-point skills on both ends of the court,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a release announcing the move. “We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to our core group at this stage of our journey to defend the NBA title.”

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel echoed that sentiment when asked about the addition of Drummond to the Lakers roster.

“We’re thrilled,” Vogel said. “We’re all thrilled that Andre Drummond, a player of his caliber, joined our team. He’s one of the best centers in the league, someone that every defensive coordinator is going to have to account for and figure out how to handle him while they’re trying slow down AD, LeBron and our guards.

“I think he’s going to give us a big lift in the immediate future and when we get going. He’s just one of those guys that can dominate the game on both sides of the ball and his physicality something you have to account for.”

Report: Drummond to Start for Lakers

Drummond will see ample time on the court with the Lakers and is expected to start, according to a report from Jovan Buha of The Athletic. That would send veteran big man Marc Gasol — who has struggled this season with just 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game — to the bench. It would also keep reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell in a reserve role, where he thrives.

“I’m not here to steal nobody’s shine,” Drummond told reporters when asked if he would start. “I’m here to help this team win as many games as possible.”

The Lakers will be able to unveil Drummond for the first time on Wednesday when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks.

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