The LA Lakers are attempting to push toward a second straight NBA title. Two-time All-Star Andre Drummond holds a significant part in that effort. With that in mind, the Lakers may have also already decided on Drummond’s long-term future.
Lakers acquire Andre Drummond
Shortly after the trade deadline, the Lakers made the notable free-agent move by inking Drummond for the rest of the season.
The two-time All-Star quickly took on a massive role as the team’s starting center. 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.
His workload has dipped in the first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, averaging 9.5 points and 10.5 rebounds on 63.0% shooting from the field in 20.8 minutes per contest. Drummond’s transition has featured ups and downs, but he’s provided the Lakers more frontcourt stability.
All that has guided the front office already decide on his long-term future.
Lakers already decided on Andre Drummond’s future
Since Drummond’s arrival, the lingering question remains concerning his long-term future in LA.
The two-time All-Star is signed through the 2020-21 season and will become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming summer. As that scenario sits ahead, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin voiced recently on “The Lowe Post” podcast that the Lakers view Drummond as a long-term piece. (h/t Larry Brown Sports)
“They’ve been so committed to him being the ceremonial starter,” McMenamin said. “And obviously he gets more than just ceremonial minutes. That seems to be something that is important to Drummond, which makes it important to the Lakers’ front office because they have signaled to everyone listening that this isn’t just a half a season buyout market rental. Andre Drummond is part of the future moving forward with this franchise.”
The 27-year-old started every game since joining the Lakers. His workload remains consistent despite his stretches of struggles. Drummond is a strong rebounding factor while providing a paint presence at times, but his foul troubles often become an issue.
He has performed well in his limited playing time alongside James and Davis, benefitting from increased scoring opportunities near the rim. The Lakers’ reasoning behind the interest in retaining Drummond likely lies with the stability. Shortly after joining LA, Drummond voiced that he’s focused only on this season.
““For me, I’m just focused on wearing a Lakers jersey right now,” Drummond said via Heavy.com. “When the time comes for the next decision, we’ll cross that bridge. But as of right now, my main focus is helping this team win as many games as possible.”
The question now becomes what type of contract LA will offer the star big man as he will command a steady market. His annual salary may fall well below the $26 million average he received from his five-year, $130 million extension with the Detroit Pistons.
Other pivotal roster decisions lie ahead
Drummond’s future is one of the Lakers‘ several prominent roster decisions ahead in the offseason.
Veteran guard Dennis Schroder will become an unrestricted free agent, which will mark his first experience in the open market. Schroder holds interest in returning but voiced a strong desire to see what other offers may lie out there.
Last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell, holds a $9.7 million player option for the 2021-22 campaign. Meanwhile, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Ben McLemore will head into free agency.
A critical offseason lies ahead that may see some massive roster changes to keep the Lakers in the title picture.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotac.