Lakers still committed to keeping Andre Drummond long-term

Andre Drummond was easy to see a short-term rental to the Lakers, but the team has plans to keep him long-term

Andre Drummond, Lakers
NBA Analysis Network

In the final year of his contract, Andre Drummond was an easy buyout for the Cleveland Cavaliers once the timing was right. The Los Angeles Lakers signed him, and immediately created a quandary over how to deploy their big men. Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell have lost playing time, and Drummond hasn’t always fit well when he shares the floor with Anthony Davis.

Drummond will be a free agent this summer. But on The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said the Lakers see Drummond as a part of their future.

They have been so committed to him being the ceremonial starter,” said Dave McMenamin of Drummond on The Lowe Post. “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, ‘This isn’t just a half a season buyout market rental. Andre Drummond is part of the future moving forward with this franchise.’

As Real GM cited, the Lakers would have to use the Tax Payer’s Mid-Level Exception to sign Drummond this offseason. Harrell has a $9.7 million player option for next season, which opens up the possibility he won’t be back. Gasol is under contract for just under $2.7 million for next year. The Lakers’ best lineups typically feature Davis playing center too (though he is open about how he doesn’t see himself as a center).

Drummond is still fairly young (28 in August). So he can probably get a nice multi-year deal on the open market this summer. But he’s also at the stage of his career where winning may take some priority. This year is just his third time in the playoffs. So if the Lakers wants to keep Drummond, he might be open to staying.

Drummond is still good for a points/rebounds double-double at times. But he doesn’t dent the stat sheet in any other ways. Going further, he can often be a notable detriment on the floor. During Sunday’s Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns, as he finished with a -9 plus/minus over 19 minutes in an eight-point loss, “Get Drummond Out” was trending on Twitter. Not contributing to winning is nothing new for Drummond, as the Detroit Pistons can attest.

Letting it out that they see Drummond as part of the future comes off as some PR by the Lakers. “He’s not a rental, we swear” they might say, in the simplest terms. But he doesn’t fit well, assuming Harrell is back. They might be priced out anyway, unless Drummond is willing to take a one-year discount to stay.