Andre Drummond has been added to the Lakers’ postseason roster.
Less than an hour before the Lakers’ game against the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, the Lakers announced the signing of two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond. Drummond revealed his decision earlier in the day with a post on his Instagram account, writing “Back to work” beneath an image of himself in a Lakers uniform.
In a statement, general manager Rob Pelinka said, “Andre Drummond gives us solid, anchor-point skills on both ends of the court.” “At this point of our journey to defend the NBA crown, we feel immensely lucky to have added a player of his caliber and importance to our core group.”
Drummond and the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a buyout on Friday, after the four-time NBA rebounding champion was acquired last year after nearly eight seasons in Detroit. Before he could join a team of his choice, he had to clear waivers, and Drummond decided to join LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the reigning NBA champions.
After featuring in just eight playoff games — and losing all eight — in two postseason trips with the Pistons, Drummond is almost likely to get his first substantial NBA postseason playing time with the Lakers.
When Drummond returns to full strength after a six-week layoff, the two-time All-Star Game selection should be a major improvement at center for the Lakers, who won a bidding war for his services over the weekend.
Even before his return from a three-and-a-half-week bout with coronavirus, veteran Marc Gasol was erratic for the Lakers, and 6-foot-8 Montrezl Harrell is undersized for the most important defensive assignments in the center.
In several postseason matchups, Davis also plays center, but Drummond’s rebounding and interior scoring could help the Lakers retain their top seed in the Western Conference without James and Davis. Davis hasn’t played since Feb. 14 due to a right calf injury, while James is out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle.
If Drummond had played enough games to qualify among the league leaders in rebounds per game, he would be second to Atlanta’s Clint Capela. In the NBA, his 4.0 offensive rebounds per game will rank seventh.
The Lakers are actually ninth in the NBA in terms of rebounds per game (45.1), but they are just 17th in terms of offensive rebounds (9.6).
Coach Frank Vogel confirmed that he has spoken to Gasol and Harrell about Drummond joining the team.
For decades, the 17-time champion franchise has missed a rebounder of Drummond’s achievements. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975-76 was the last Lakers player to surpass Drummond’s career average of 13.8 rebounds per game in a single season, and the Lakers have only had one league rebounding champion in the 45 years since: Dwight Howard in 2012-13.
Orlando coach Steve Clifford said of Drummond, “So much of the playoffs are about the paint, you know, and he’s a physical force down there.” “He’s a fantastic rim protector and one of our best offensive rebounders. Because of his physicality and height, he could win one or two playoff games for you.”
Drummond’s arrival in Los Angeles is the latest in the NBA’s annual super-team assemblages around the trade deadline. This month, Brooklyn acquired Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, while Miami acquired Victor Oladipo and Denver acquired Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee.