Lakers reportedly strong frontrunners’ to sign Andre Drummond

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LaMarcus Aldridge did not follow expectations and chose to sign with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent.

Andre Drummond appears to be headed where he had long been rumored to land, with LeBron James in Los Angeles. Sources had told NBC Sports the Lakers seemed to be in the driver’s seat on Friday, and tonight ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Lakers are “strong frontrunners” to sign Drummond.

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. The Lakers have had inconsistent center play with Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell this season, and Drummond’s ability to protect the paint and rebound would allow for him to have a significant impact.

The Lakers can only offer Drummond the prorated veteran’s minimum, but for him it’s not about the money — he gets to both chase a ring and boost his free agent stock, showing what he can do in a role for a contending team.

Drummond, who agreed to a buyout with the Cavaliers, averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds a game this season, is an elite rebounder and a solid drop-back rim protector — all things the Lakers would welcome. Drummond isn’t a fit on every team — his old-school game that does not space the floor, and he likes post touches and some isolation plays called for him — and there are legitimate concerns about his pick-and-roll defense. That said, if he plays well for the Lakers he will see better offers in the offseason.

With the Lakers, he would be an upgrade the rest of this season and could help in specific matchups deep into the postseason. However, the deeper the Lakers go in the playoffs, the more Anthony Davis will play center, that remains the Lakers best lineup.