LeBron James is hoping to become a champion yet again as the LA Lakers are looking to repeat this season. It won’t come easy, though. Anthony Davis has missed time with LA due to injury, and the Brooklyn Nets are absolutely stacked, especially after signing former All-Star Blake Griffin. However, the Lakers may now also add a former All-Star that is even better than Griffin. That former All-Star is big man Andre Drummond, who is scheduled to make $28.75 million this year but may see the Cavs buy out what what’s left on his contract.
LeBron James and the Lakers missed out on Blake Griffin
Since getting traded to the Detroit Pistons by the LA Clippers, former All-Star Blake Griffin has declined significantly. He went from averaging 24.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds in 2018-19 with Detroit to averaging 12.3 points per game and 5.2 rebounds this year.
This led to Griffin agreeing to a contract buyout with the Pistons.
While Griffin’s talents have declined significantly, many wondered if this just had to do with his situation. People considered him to be “stuck in” Detroit, compared to when he was playing on a perennial playoff team in the beautiful city of LA while with the Clippers. Because of this, multiple championship contenders were linked to Griffin.
This includes LeBron James and the LA Lakers.
However, Griffin has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN. This move makes the Nets the favorites to win the NBA championship, as they now have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Blake Griffin, and some other talented pieces.
LeBron James, though, could become a champion yet again just by looking to his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Andre Drummond and the Cavs are parting ways
After spending seven-and-a-half seasons with the Detroit Pistons to start his career, Andre Drummond went to the Cavs via trade in 2019-20.
He has since played well for Cleveland this season. In 25 games, Drummond has averaged 17.5 points per game and 13.5 rebounds. However, Drummond — who was a two-time All-Star with the Pistons — is due $28.75 million this season, and the Cavs have decided to focus on making Jarrett Allen the team’s starting center of the future. This led to Cleveland and Drummond agreeing that he would no longer play while the team looks to trade him, per ESPN.
According to The Athletic, the Cavaliers have discussed a potential trade with the Raptors. The Chicago Bulls also reportedly have an interest.
If the Cavs don’t trade Andre Drummond, though, LeBron James and the Lakers will reportedly be ready.
LeBron James and the Lakers could add Andre Drummond
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, “there is optimism within the Lakers that they will get strong consideration from Andre Drummond” if the Cavs end up having to agree to a contract buyout with the big man. Cleveland, though, would, obviously, rather trade Drummond before the trade deadline. His contract for the 2020-21 season is worth $28.75 million, so the Cavs would most likely not want to pay all of that.
If the Lakers were to get Drummond, though, they would potentially become the favorites again. Drummond is significantly better than Blake Griffin at this point in their careers. He averages over eight more rebounds per game than him this season, over five more points per game, and shoots 47.4% from the field, compared to Griffin’s 36.5%. Drummond is also much better defensively. He is averaging 1.2 blocks per game and 1.6 steals, compared to Griffin’s 0.1 blocks and 0.7 steals.
Sure, the Nets have more talent within their top three players in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. The Lakers’ roster outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, though, is very strong with reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, as well as Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma. Adding Drummond would then help them significantly with depth once Davis gets back from injury. It would also, however, just be a significant upgrade over what they have now while Davis recovers.
Blake Griffin, at his best, was much better than Andre Drummond. Drummond is much better now, though, and could help LeBron James become a champion for the fifth time in his career.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference