When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Andre Drummond in March, the overwhelming expectation was that he would only be be a one-year rental because the Lakers will be limited to what they can offer him this summer. While that still may be the case, neither side has closed the door on a reunion — in fact, they’ve done quite the opposite.
During the Lakers’ exit interviews, Frank Vogel said that he hopes Drummond is part of the team “for a long time.” Drummond wasn’t nearly as forthright as Vogel was at the time, but during a recent Instagram Live Q&A with Lakers Central, the two-time All-Star sounded optimistic about his future in Los Angeles:
“It was an incredible time in my career to have this opportunity to play with LeBron James instead of against him. Hopefully things go the right way and we’ll try to run it back again.”
The problem is that nothing has changed with the Lakers’ financial situation: they can either offer him slightly more than the veteran’s minimum or the taxpayer mid-level exception, the latter of which is expected to be valued at $5.89 million for the 2021-22 season. We don’t know how Drummond feels about the taxpayer mid-level exception, but we know that he doesn’t plan on re-signing for the veteran’s minimum.
If Drummond did re-sign with the Lakers for the taxpayer mid-level exception in free agency, it would give him and Anthony Davis an opportunity to build on the promising things they showed in the postseason. However, it would also feel like a missed opportunity for the Lakers, who could also use that exception to add some much-needed perimeter shooting. Drummond is a lot of things, but a shooter isn’t one of them.
We’ll likely find out more about the type of money Drummond is going to command in the open market, as well as the players that are going to be available, in the coming weeks, but for now, it’s still possible that Drummond will be back next season.