It’s (almost) official: After tons of rumored interest going back months, the Los Angeles Lakers will sign former Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond when he clears waivers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Once Andre Drummond clears waivers at 5 PM ET, he intends to sign with the Lakers, his agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelbasketball tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 28, 2021
The Lakers were long considered the frontrunners for Drummond, even before he was bought out. Their players started recruiting him before the Cavaliers had even finished waiving him, and they were on the list of teams he was expected to meet with once he got free of his contract in Cleveland.
Drummond is now the second player with the initials AD to rebuff a “full-court press” from the Boston Celtics, and he also rejected substantial interest from the New York Knicks. Instead, he’s headed to L.A. for the chance to chase a ring alongside his friend Anthony Davis and fulfill his dream of playing with LeBron James.
What will Drummond bring to the Lakers? Well, another large human Frank Vogel can use to wall off the rim, and one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. From my story on his potential addition earlier this week:
If he makes his way to the Lakers, Drummond would provide a center of a type more similar to what Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee brought last season than the options the Lakers have used this year. He is more mobile and athletic than Marc Gasol — low bar, I know — and is arguably the greatest rebounder in the history of basketball.
Does that sound like hyperbole or an overdose of purple and gold Kool Aid? Well, he’s averaging 13.8 boards per game for his career, which ranks eighth all time in NBA/ABA history and first among active players, per Basketball-Reference. He also has the best rebound percentage in the history of the NBA, grabbing 24.59% of all misses while he’s on the floor.
Is he worth playing over Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell? It appears the Lakers think so, and given Rob Pelinka’s hit-rate on role players and buyout guys so far, Drummond deserves a shot to prove he can be the answer to whatever supposed “issues” the best defense in the NBA has. And to be fair to Drummond, at just 27, with all the natural tools in the world and in his first time in a winning situation, some of the flaws he’s demonstrated previously on both ends of the floor may be easier to iron out, allowing him to accentuate the things he actually is incredible at.
Drummond will not clear waivers until Sunday night, 48 hours after the Cavaliers officially waived him. After that, he can sign his next contract. This will fill one of the Lakers’ two open roster spots, so they can sign one more player in the buyout market.
The contract for Andre Drummond in Los Angeles is the amount- $794,536- that he gave back in his buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) March 28, 2021
The Lakers will have a $554,988 cap hit.
The Lakers are $954,349 below the hard cap and have enough room to sign a 15th player.
Drummond won’t be available when the Lakers take on the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on Sunday, but he might be in attendance for the game, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
Lakers have been informed that André Drummond will sign with them as soon as he clears waivers today. Drummond hopes to attend Lakers game tonight vs. Orlando, sources said.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) March 28, 2021