UPDATE: It’s official, Andre Drummond is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team announced the deal.
“Andre Drummond gives us powerful, anchor-point skills on both ends of the court,” Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said in a statement. “We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to our core group at this stage of our journey to defend the NBA title.”
The Lakers are about to get an upgrade at center… at least in the minutes Anthony Davis isn’t playing the position.
Andre Drummond’s agent confirmed that when Drummond clears waivers — at 5 p.m. Eastern Sunday — he will sign with the Lakers, as told to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. This had been the expected outcome for weeks.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis had been recruiting Drummond, trying to bring him to fill a need in Los Angeles. The Lakers have not gotten consistent play out of Marc Gasol (currently out injured), and Montrezl Harrell brings energy but doesn’t have the size or defensive capability to match up against bigger centers in the league. Drummond is not a third star, but he is an upgrade who could help with specific matchups deeper in the playoffs.
Drummond — who agreed to a buyout with the Cavaliers — brings size, elite rebounding, and solid hands that give him the ability to score around the rim. He averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds a game this season, but he does it with an old-school game — he will not space the floor — and he wants post touches, and some isolation plays called for him (taking the ball out of LeBron or AD’s hands for those shots is less than ideal).
Defensively he is a solid drop-back rim protector, but he struggles in space as a pick-and-roll defender, something the Lakers need deeper in the postseason.
The Lakers can only offer Drummond the prorated veteran’s minimum. For Drummond, it’s not about the money this season; the Lakers give him a chance to both chase a ring and boost his free agent stock for the offseason, showing what he can do in a role for a contending team.