The case for and against LA Lakers retaining Andre Drummond beyond this season | 2021 NBA Free Agency

Andre Drummond with the LA Lakers talking with head coach Frank Vogel
Andre Drummond with the LA Lakers talking with head coach Frank Vogel
Kunal Sethi

The LA Lakers' latest acquisition, Andre Drummond, has been under the spotlight of late. The conversation around his upcoming NBA free agency has started. The reigning champions are currently in the middle of a heated first round battle with the Phoenix Suns with the series tied at 2-2. In the meantime, a lot of international attention is falling on Drummond. He was signed by the LA Lakers midway through the regular season after being bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He started every game he played in for the LA Lakers and averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in 21 games played. Drummond is averaging 9.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in the 2021 NBA playoffs so far, although with Anthony Davis injured, those numbers are expected to climb.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin was a guest on ESPN's Zach Lowe's podcast "The Lowe Post" and said he believes the LA Lakers' front-office considers Drummond part of their future moving forward. He said,

"They have been so committed to him being the ceremonial starter...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."

Why the LA Lakers should keep Andre Drummond beyond this season

Andre Drummond with the LA Lakers
Andre Drummond with the LA Lakers

The LA Lakers have always been inclined towards big men. While the rest of the league was adapting to smaller players, it felt like the traditional centers were no longer of any use. The LA Lakers broke the mold with their 2020 championship run. Andre Drummond has never averaged less than 10 rebounds a game since his rookie year. He has a career average of 13.7 rebounds per game and is a four-time NBA rebounding leader.

Andre Drummond is just 27 years old and has a lot of good years ahead of him. Meanwhile, LeBron James is 36 years old and although he is aging gracefully in this league, having another set of fresh legs cannot hurt. Anthony Davis recently suffered a groin injury and having someone like Drummond in the lineup is a huge boost as you can never suffer on the boards.

Moreover, given how the LA Lakers are always inclined on getting big men in their lineup, finding a new center in the offseason can be a grueling task. Andre Drummond has already developed chemistry with the team and is underway for a playoff run with them. Hence, retaining him might be in the best interests of the reigning champions.

Why the LA Lakers should consider not resigning Andre Drummond beyond this season

Andre Drummond with the LA Lakers
Andre Drummond with the LA Lakers

Andre Drummond was a decent acquisition midway through the season when James and Davis were injured. He kept the LA Lakers afloat with the help of the rest of the crew and ensured that the team didn't fall much in the conference standings. However, an argument can be made that he has served his purpose and shouldn't be retained beyond the 2020-21 NBA season.

Drummond provides little help on offense and can often be a liability in late-game situations when the team needs instant buckets. He isn't even a stretch-5 as his inability to shoot leads to a lack of spacing. We have also seen smaller guards easily blow by him and score with ease around the paint. For a man of his size and strength, he isn't much of a shot-blocker, averaging just 1.4 blocks per game this season.

Although as mentioned earlier, he is still young and can develop, it might not suit the timeline of the LA Lakers. Drummond has never won a playoff series in his career and has always seen first round exits. The 2021 NBA playoffs saw his first ever victory in the postseason.

Most importantly, Andre Drummond is on a massive contract with the LA Lakers. Although the terms can be re-evaluated in the offseason, Drummond has expressed his desire to sign a max contract with whatever new team he signs with. The LA Lakers have signed both Anthony Davis and LeBron James to max contracts and adding another multi-million dollar deal to the mix will wreck the cap space. It will handicap the LA Lakers' ability to sign any new players and they will be tied down to a long-term deal with a player who might not be worth it in the immediate future.

Also Read: NBA Rumors: Andre Drummond expected to stay with the LA Lakers beyond this season

Edited by Arnav Kholkar


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