In 2011, a year before Andre Drummond was drafted by the Detroit Pistons, he let all his Twitter followers at the time know about one of his basketball dreams:
one of my goals In life Is to meet an play with or against @KingJames— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummond) August 11, 2011
Nearly a decade later, Drummond has an opportunity to make that dream come true. With the Cleveland Cavaliers finalizing their buyout with Drummond on Friday, he’ll clear waivers on Sunday and become a free agent, able to sign with any team that has an open roster spot. The Lakers currently have two open roster spots, and can sign any player that is bought out before April 9.
Los Angeles is also expected to be one of several teams he’ll meet with, and Brad Turner of L.A. Times said on Friday that his sources see the Lakers as the favorites to land the veteran big man:
With André Drummond getting buyout from Cleveland, the Lakers appear to be front runners to land the center, sources said. But the Lakers have competition from other teams.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) March 26, 2021
On Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN doubled down on that report with stronger language:
The Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as strong front-runners to sign center Andre Drummond, sources told ESPN on Saturday night.
Drummond clears waivers on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET but is expected to formalize his decision to join the Lakers as soon as Sunday, a league source told ESPN.
The Lakers’ star players and front office have been recruiting Drummond hard, selling him on the opportunity to step into the defending champion’s starting lineup, sources said.
This isn’t entirely surprising. Teams around the NBA have viewed Drummond joining the Lakers as basically inevitable since before the trade deadline, and Lakers players have reportedly been putting in their recruiting pitches to him for a while. There is always a chance he heads elsewhere — like the New York Knicks — in search of more money than the Lakers can offer, but in terms of giving him an opportunity to win a ring, play with his “close” friend Anthony Davis and fulfill his dream of being teammates with LeBron James, the Lakers are clearly his best option. There have also been reports that Drummond has already been spending his time away from the Cavaliers in Los Angeles, so he wouldn’t even have to move, if those rumors are true.
That’s probably why the Lakers are considered the frontrunner, but we’ll see if they end up in the lead once all the recruiting is done, and the race for buyout market help is completed.
This story was updated to reflect the latest reporting from ESPN on Saturday. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.