The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Andre Drummond, the team announced Sunday, an addition that drew high praise from coach Frank Vogel and his players.
“We’re all thrilled to add Andre Drummond, a player of his caliber, to our team,” Vogel said following the Lakers’ 96-93 win over the visiting Orlando Magic on Sunday night. “He’s one of the best centers in the league, someone that every defensive coordinator is going to have to account for and to figure out how to handle him when they’re trying to slow down [Anthony Davis] and [LeBron James] and our guards.
“I think he’s going to give us a big lift in the immediate future, and then obviously when we get going. He can dominate the game on both sides of the ball. His physicality is something you have to account for.”
Vogel said he spoke with Drummond and that he is “really excited” about joining the Lakers — “probably as excited as we are.”
“I think our team got a lot better,” Vogel said.
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The Lakers’ star players and front office recruited the center hard, selling him on the opportunity to step into the defending champion’s starting lineup, sources said. The Lakers have had inconsistent center play with Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell this season, and Drummond’s ability to protect the paint and rebound would allow for him to have a significant impact.
All-Star Davis would be expected to play center minutes in the postseason too.
“I got somebody to battle with on the boards now,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said. “So, I think that’s something that’s really, really going to stand out. Especially when we get AD back. Me, him and Drummond and Bron fighting for the boards — it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough for other teams.”
Drummond and agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management had discussions with several teams since reaching a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, including the Lakers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and others, sources said.
Drummond posted to Instagram an image of him in a Lakers jersey with the caption, “Back to work.”
“He’s a big, dominant presence, and it’s definitely gonna be a good breath of fresh air to have him come onto our lineup,” Harrell said. “I think he’s eager and ready to go and ready to get after it. So, I mean, that’s a great attitude that you need to have coming into an organization.”
Drummond agreed to a buyout on the remainder of the $27.9 million left on his 2020-21 contract. He’ll become a free agent this summer.
Drummond hasn’t played a game since Feb. 12, after he and the Cavaliers decided they would separate until a trade or a contract buyout.
Drummond, 27, averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 starts this season with Cleveland. After the Cavaliers traded for a younger center, Jarrett Allen, Drummond’s role was diminished, and the sides agreed he would leave the active roster until a trade or a buyout allowed him to move on.
Drummond spent eight seasons with the Detroit Pistons before a 2020 trade to the Cavaliers. He was a two-time All-Star with the Pistons.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.
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