The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of competing for a second straight NBA title. The Lakers will head into an offseason in which plenty of critical roster decisions lie ahead. Andre Drummond may now have muddied those plans by ruling out one scenario that returns him to Los Angeles.
Andre Drummond’s experience with the Lakers
After the Lakers chose to keep the roster intact at the trade deadline, the front office inked Drummond for the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old became a free agent after a contract buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He immediately stepped into a significant role as part of Los Angeles’ starting five. In 21 regular-season games, Drummond averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 53.1% from the floor in 24.8 minutes per contest.
The two-time All-Star recorded 10 double-doubles with the Lakers while joining Bob McAdoo as the only Lakers players to notch at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes or less in a single game. However, his production dipped in the playoffs as his role lessened.
Drummond struggled to be a significant postseason factor, averaging 9.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per contest. His struggles resulted in a healthy scratch for Game 6 of the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns.
He managed to post double-digit rebounds in four contests, including a double-double against the Suns. But after his team was eliminated and as the offseason inches closer, the two-time All-Star quickly shot down one possible scenario that would result in him staying in Los Angeles.
Andre Drummond only needed 2 words to shoot down a pathway to return to the Lakers
The Lakers‘ championship bid ending prematurely quickly shifts the attention toward their upcoming offseason plans.
Drummond sits near the top of the team’s priority list as he heads into summer free agency for the first time in his career. The 27-year-old will have an opportunity to return to the Lakers, but he’s quickly ruled out one possible scenario.
A fan recently commented on his Instagram page that he should re-sign on a veteran’s minimum deal with Los Angeles. Drummond only needed two words to shut down that discussion.
“You drunk,” Drummond wrote via Lakers Daily.
Drummond holds no desire to take a massive pay cut to return to the Lakers. He presumably wants to command another lucrative deal, be it with Los Angeles or another franchise.
A recent report from Jovan Buha of The Athletic stated that Drummond’s only path toward re-signing would be through a veteran’s minimum contract. With that option out the door, it may pave the way toward the two-time All-Star electing to play elsewhere in 2021-22 and beyond.
Los Angeles may have other offseason plans
The Lakers certainly hold interest in bringing back Drummond.
However, the front office may only see that scenario unfold at a specific price range due to wanting to revamp the roster. Despite Drummond’s struggles to adjust in Los Angeles, he will have several suitors vying for his services in free agency.
Meanwhile, the Lakers will likely shift their attention to improve the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Drummond may be a part of those plans, but his place in them will not include a significant offensive role.
Los Angeles has several other players heading into free agency such as Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Wesley Mathews. The team holds a significant desire to bring back Caruso and Horton-Tucker.
The Lakers may explore the trade market for Kyle Kuzma. However, the team may have trouble finding a feasible deal due to his diminished value linked to his porous playoff showing. It all further underlines that Los Angeles has plenty on the agenda to reshape the roster for another NBA title push.