The Los Angeles Lakers are moving toward the offseason after a disappointing first-round playoff exit. The front office holds several crucial roster decisions that will shape the team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With that in mind, big man Andre Drummond may already know his fate in Los Angeles.
Andre Drummond’s stint with the Lakers features plenty of ups and downs
After the Lakers stayed pat at the trade deadline, the team signed Drummond through the rest of the season.
The two-time All-Star immediately made a notable impact through his production. In 22 regular-season games, he averaged 11.9 points and 1.02 rebounds on 53.1% shooting from the floor in 24.8 minutes per contest.
It included notching 10 double-doubles while becoming the first Lakers player since Bob McAdoo to tally 20 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes or less.
However, Drummond’s role diminished in the playoffs as he averaged 9.0 points and 11.0 rebounds on 59.4% shooting in 21.0 minutes per contest. He also didn’t take the floor for Game 6 in the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns as the team elected to play Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell instead.
As the offseason inches closer, Drummond may already have his mind made up concerning his Lakers’ future.
Andre Drummond may already know his fate with the Lakers
The Lakers have many crucial decisions to make this upcoming offseason, with the bulk of the roster heading into free agency.
Drummond is near the top of the list after signing a contract through only the rest of the 2020-21 season. As the two-time All-Star heads into free agency, he will likely have several teams vying for his services.
The Lakers will be among those making a strong push to sign him, but Jovan Buha of The Athletic is reporting Drummond will likely play elsewhere next season.
“Drummond is an archaic archetype, one that doesn’t translate well to the postseason as a starter,” Buha wrote. “The Lakers pumped him up all season only to bench him in their biggest game of the season. His future is somewhat tied to [Marc] Gasol and [Montrezl] Harrell, both of whom will be covered below. But unless he’s willing to accept a veteran minimum offer, or one of the Lakers’ available exceptions, depending on who they renounce and re-sign, Drummond will likely be elsewhere on opening night 2021.”
Previous reports indicated the Lakers wants Drummond back as the organization viewed him as a long-term piece. Head coach Frank Vogel repeatedly echoed that sentiment, stating that he wants the 27-year-old to remain in Los Angeles for a “long time.”
Meanwhile, Drummond remains publicly non committal, as he likely wants to explore his options first in free agency. It will mark the first time that he ventures into the summer open market.
It may come down to the Lakers offering Drummond a lucrative deal that he believes he’s worth. If that type of money isn’t there, he will take it elsewhere to get what he thinks he deserves.
Los Angeles holds other critical roster decisions ahead
Beyond Drummond’s future, the Lakers have several other key players heading into free agency.
Los Angeles will have to decide whether to bring back Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Wesley Matthews. Early indications suggest Caruso and Horton-Tucker are contributors the franchise wants to retain.
Meanwhile, Schroder, Morris, and Matthews have all voiced the desire to return. The front office will likely shake things up to push the franchise back into the title picture, which means several new faces will arrive.
Los Angeles wants to make the most of LeBron James’ remaining time that runs through at least the 2022-23 season. Anthony Davis and James will spend the offseason getting healthy and ready to play next season.
Ultimately, it will be a matter of the franchise putting a championship-contender roster around the two stars.