The last couple of weeks have tested the LA Lakers as their two stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are sidelined with injuries. LA has stumbled to navigate the waters without their driving forces. However, the Lakers have managed to secure a potentially significant piece to guide them forward.
Lakers hampered by the injury bug
The Lakers entered this season with plenty of high hopes toward pushing their way to a second NBA title.
As the campaign has progressed along, the injury bug has hit the team hard pertaining to their two stars. Anthony Davis attempted to play through the first two months dealing with nagging injuries, but a bothersome Achilles ailment has kept him out of the lineup since mid-February.
Meanwhile, LeBron James has been sidelined for nearly two weeks dealing with a right high-ankle sprain. Since James’ injury, the team has limped through the schedule, recently snapping their four-game skid with Friday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the Lakers holding out hope toward returning to full strength before the playoffs, the team has secured a massive frontcourt addition.
The Lakers spend less than $1 million to secure potentially game-changing move
As the Lakers marched through the trade deadline without any moves, their focus shifted over to the buyout market.
Following former All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge choosing to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, LA turned their attention to other prized buyout player in Andre Drummond. The Lakers moved quickly to garner an agreement with Drummond for the rest of this campaign.
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Lakers are expected to ink the two-time All-Star to $794,536, which is the amount he gave back to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his buyout. It’s the epitome of a low-risk, high-reward move as Drummond has much to offer.
The 27-year-old could quickly step in as the team’s starting center due to the lackluster play they have received from Marc Gasol this season. Drummond is a proven elite factor with his rebounding and can provide a strong defensive paint presence.
If Anthony Davis can return healthy this season, the two could form an imposing frontcourt duo. Drummond could find much offensive success through pick-and-roll situations and clean up near the rim.
The move has many benefits for both sides that could see him become a vital piece in guiding the Lakers toward title contention.
Focus remains on health ahead of the playoffs
As the Lakers move forward with Andre Drummond now in the mix, it ramps up the focus toward a title push.
Drummond will have plenty of time ahead to find his place within the fold. Beyond that, the team’s focus remains on staying afloat until Anthony Davis and LeBron James return.
The hope is that both could find their way back on the court at some point next month. Drummond’s presence should provide some much-needed stability in the frontcourt, but it’s on the rest of the roster to push them forward.
Any realistic shot for the Lakers to contend for an NBA title lies in their two stars returning fully healthy. LA has operated with much caution around Davis’ situation and figures to do the same with James as he recovers from his ankle injury.
With Davis taking a recent progressive step forward in his recovery, it provides light at the end of the tunnel concerning his return this season. Meanwhile, James should be back in the fold in the next couple of weeks.
LA has time on their side with nearly two months left in the season; it may just be a matter of their health hedging on their side.