The Los Angeles Lakers have finally been able to procure some much-needed help.
The team announced on Sunday that they had signed center Andre Drummond, who hasn’t played in a few weeks while his previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, searched fruitlessly for a trade partner, eventually agreeing with Drummond on a buyout late last week.
With superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis still a ways away from returning to the floor, the arrival of Drummond is a sight for sore eyes for everyone with the Lakers, especially head coach Frank Vogel.
“We’re all thrilled to add Andre Drummond, a player of his caliber, to our team,” Vogel said on Sunday night. “He’s one of the best centers in the league, someone that every defensive coordinator is going to have to account for and to figure out how to handle him when they’re trying to slow down [Anthony Davis] and [LeBron James] and our guards.”
Vogel indicated that Drummond is very excited to join the Lakers, possibly just as excited as the team is to have him at this point. L.A.’s head coach also acknowledged how the big man’s role will change over the coming weeks as the Lakers return to full health.
“I think he’s going to give us a big lift in the immediate future,” Vogel said. “And then obviously when we get going. He can dominate the game on both sides of the ball. His physicality is something you have to account for.”
The addition of Drummond is a big get for the Lakers, but after sitting at the top all season, they dropped to second on 888sport’s table for odds to win the NBA Championship last week and remain there now, behind the Brooklyn Nets (+275) with +325 NBA odds.
Many people within the organization, from players to coaches to execs, recruited Drummond fiercely on the idea of coming to play for a team on the fast track to a title when LeBron and the Brow make their returns, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Considering the caliber of teams Drummond has played for during his individually impressive career, that was probably the perfect way to pitch the 27-year-old: the guy has not experienced a lot of winning in the NBA
Over nine seasons in the NBA, Drummond’s teams have racked up an ugly 270-354 overall record. He’s made the playoffs twice, in 2016 and 2019, but his squad suffered four-game sweeps in both instances. The 2016 Pistons were the only team on which he played to finish the regular season above .500.
He now comes into a situation where he can potentially lead a title-contending team in the top four of the Western Conference for the next couple of weeks before reverting to a supporting role when the King and the Brow come back. Not a bad change of pace for the Mount Vernon native.
His strong defensive presence at the rim and his supreme rebounding instincts will allow him to give the Lakers a boost in the frontcourt when compared to the guys they’re trotting out now like the 36-year-old Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, who’s more of a force coming off the bench.
Harrell called bringing Drummond into the fold a “good breath of fresh air,” while forward Kyle Kuzma, who has been owning the glass for L.A. over the past couple of weeks, also welcomed the challenge the new guy will bring for boards.
“I got somebody to battle with on the boards now,” Kuzma said. “So, I think that’s something that’s really, really going to stand out. Especially when we get AD back. Me, him and Drummond and Bron fighting for the boards—it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough for other teams.”
The UConn alumnus spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Detroit Pistons before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, a marriage that was never destined to work.
Drummond is a two-time NBA All-Star (2016 and 2018), a member of the 2016 All-NBA Third Team, and a four-time league-leader in rebounding, including the last three straight seasons from 2018-2020.