- Andre Drummond is expected to strongly consider signing with the Lakers if bought out by the Cavaliers
- Lakers have a need at center with Anthony Davis injured
- Nets (+270) have moved past Lakers (+285) to become title favorites for the first time
On Monday, the Brooklyn Nets announced that the team has officially signed former All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Griffin was expected to receive no shortage of interest after hitting the free-agent market last week. The reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers were among the teams that showed interest in Griffin, but he ultimately decided to remain in the Eastern Conference.
While Griffin won’t be making a dramatic return to LA, the Lakers are still hopeful that the buyout market can prove fruitful. Shortly before it was announced that the Detroit Pistons would be parting ways with Griffin, the Cleveland Cavaliers disclosed that center Andre Drummond would be sidelined until the team decided his fate.
The Cavs have reportedly been fielding trade offers for Drummond, but there is a growing belief that Cleveland may instead opt to buy him out of the rest of his contract. If Drummond does find his way to the free-agent market, the Lakers are one of the teams expected to show interest.
Lakers Frontrunners for Drummond?
According to the New York Post, Drummond is expected to strongly consider joining the defending champs if the Cavaliers buy him out. Los Angeles has been the odds-on favorites to successfully defend their championship for the vast majority of the season, but they have since been surpassed by the Nets at a variety of NBA betting sites.
There is optimism within the Lakers that they will get strong consideration from Andre Drummond if Drummond ultimately leaves the Cavaliers via buyout, league sources say.
Cleveland’s preference, of course, remains trading Drummond elsewhere before the March 25 trade deadline.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 8, 2021
Adding Drummond would make sense for a Lakers team currently dealing with depth issues in the frontcourt. Anthony Davis is sidelined indefinitely with an Achilles injury. With no timetable for his return, head coach Frank Vogel is having to get creative with his frontcourt rotations.
Marc Gasol has struggled tremendously in his first year with the team, while Vogel clearly doesn’t trust the defense of Montrezl Harrell at center.
While Drummond has plenty of faults of his own, he would represent an upgrade over both Gasol and Harrell up front. Through 25 times this season, the 27-year-old has posted averages of 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game for Cleveland. Drummond spent the first chunk of the season as the Cavs’ starting center, but his time with the team was put into question following the acquisition of Jarrett Allen in January.
The 22-year-old Allen is the center of the future for Cleveland, which makes Drummond expendable. Drummond isn’t a particularly impactful defensive center, but the Lakers could use his rebounding with Davis still out of the picture.
Lakers’ Dip In Form
The Lakers entered the All-Star break at 24-13 on the year, which is good for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. LA struggled heading into the break, though. The Lakers have lost two straight and seven of their last 10 games overall.
The team’s wobbly form combined with a hot streak for Brooklyn has caused oddsmakers to tip the scales in favor of the Nets. BetOnline moved the Nets (+270) past the Lakers (+285) to become title favorites for the first time on Monday. The Lakers have been betting favorites to repeat as champions since odds opened for the first time in the fall.
The New York Knicks are another team expected to have interest in Drummond. The New York Post recently reported that the Knicks are considering whether to trade for Drummond, and whether he would be a positive fit next to All-Star Julius Randle in the frontcourt. The Knicks, who are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
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