After standing pat at the NBA trade deadline the Los Angeles Lakers — as expected — are going to get meetings with the two premiere centers on the buyout market, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports that both LaMarcus Aldridge and Andre Drummond will meet with the team.
Yahoo Sources: LaMarcus Aldridge will have conversations with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets before deciding on his next destination.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 26, 2021
Yahoo Sources: Andre Drummond will listen to pitches from the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 26, 2021
For Aldridge, this will be his third free agency meeting with the Lakers; and first with this front office, well after the Adam Levine jersey-fueled debacle of 2015. For Drummond, this will be his first time speaking with the team as a free agent, but he has some familiarity, as Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is his former agent.
According to multiple reports over the last week, the Heat are widely viewed as the favorites to sign Aldridge, with these meetings likely just an agent-led ploy to avoid tampering charges if he immediately went to the Heat with no meetings.
While this could also be a smoke screen, Drummond’s next destination is less clear cut. The Lakers are viewed around the league as the favorites to sign him, but the Knicks have emerged as a suitor as well, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Sources: The New York Knicks have emerged as a serious potential destination for Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) March 24, 2021
In addition to being from New York, the rea$on$ the Knicks might appeal to Drummond are pretty clear. John Hollinger of The Athletic broke it down:
With $15 million in room, they could ink him to a pro-rated four-year, $64 million deal — essentially conducting his free agency a few months early. Such a deal would likely be far more palatable for Drummond than one of the minimums available from contenders.
For what it’s worth, the Knicks are still reportedly undecided on how much they’d want to offer Drummond.
So basically, for Drummond, the decision will come down to a chance to win, or money from the Knicks. Aldridge seems less gettable based on media reports, but in a rare positive this week, the Lakers will at least have the chance to woo both. That’s something as this team looks to fill out the final two spots on its roster over the weeks to come.