It’s been two days since Andre Drummond signed his contract with the Lakers, and in his first press conference, he was already being asked questions about his future with the team. In truth, though, Drummond’s future in Los Angeles isn’t much of a mystery at all.
Unless Drummond decides to take a massive discount in free agency this summer, he won’t be back with the Lakers for a second season. Why? Because when he accepted a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a contract for the prorated veteran’s minimum salary, he lost his Bird rights, meaning the Lakers can only offer him slightly more than the veteran’s minimum when he becomes a free agent this summer.
Drummond was asked about his impending free agency during his first session with reporters since joining the Lakers on Monday and, unsurprisingly, he gave a very political answer.
“I’m just focused on wearing this Lakers jersey right now,” Drummond said. “When the time comes for the next decision, we’ll cross that bridge, but right now my main focus is on helping this team win as many games as possible.”
We can’t rule out the possibility of Drummond returning entirely — after all, no one saw Montrezl Harrell signing with the Lakers in free agency last year, and certainly not for the number he did — but with the amount of teams that expressed interest in him before he signed with Los Angeles, it would be surprising. If he plays well, he’s going to have significantly more money on the table than the Lakers can offer him.
So what I’m really trying to say is: enjoy Drummond while you can, because it’s more likely than not that he’s on another team next season.