It seems unreasonable to believe that the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers will be able to pull off a deal ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
The Lakers remain hard-capped, don’t have a ton of young players to offer up and have exhausted a ton of NBA Draft capital to build up their championship core. Despite one big-name player being bandied about in trade talks, it seems like Los Angeles is going to hit the buyout market instead.
That could potentially include adding two-time Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star center Andre Drummond to the mix.
“The league believes—and I know that that’s a vague statement, but I’m saying it that way to avoid trapping myself—the league believes, numerous teams that I’ve talked to believe, that Andre Drummond is heading for the Lakers if/when he gets bought out,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Tuesday.
That’s a long-winded way of reporting it’s likely Andre Drummond lands with the Los Angeles Lakers once the Cavaliers are forced to buy him out following Thursday’s deadline.
Drummond, 27, has been away from the team for more than a month as the two sides work on ending their short-term marriage after he was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Pistons last season. Cleveland is going young in the interior and had no room to give Drummond minutes.
That’s especially true after the team acquired stud young big man Jarrett Allen in the four-team James Harden blockbuster back in January.
A trade is complicated by the fact that Drummond is in the final year of his current contract and counts a whopping $28.75 million against the 2020-21 NBA salary cap. That’s where Los Angeles comes into play.
Read More: 4 ideal Andre Drummond trade scenarios
Does Andre Drummond make sense for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Yes. There’s now no question about it with Anthony Davis (Achilles) and LeBron James (ankle sprain) currently sidelined. In particular, bringing in another quality big man with AD out of action has to be the goal of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
Los Angeles only has the cash to offer up the veteran minimum on the buyout market. It’s interesting in that the Brooklyn Nets showed intent to acquire Drummond prior to picking up Blake Griffin on the buyout market earlier this month. Brooklyn has two assets, each of $5-plus million, that could be utilized to sign Drummond.
That includes a mid-level exception carrying over from this past offseason and the Spencer Dinwiddie injured-played exception. However, it appears that the Nets’ interest in acquiring Drummond has quieted some. In fact, Marc Stein of NY Times also views the Lakers as favorites to land Drummond.
“There is a growing belief around the league that the Los Angeles Lakers have an edge over the Nets to sign Drummond if he makes it to free agency,” Stein noted.
As for the Lakers, they could use Drummond in a bench role once Davis returns from injury. There’s also a chance he could start at the five with Davis playing his more natural four spot and LeBron at the three.
A top-10 pick back in 2012, Drummond was in the midst of a tremendous season before leaving the Pistons last month. He’s averaging 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Obviously, he would be a tremendous addition for the defending champs.
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