Report: Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge to meet with Lakers, other contenders before signing

LaMarcus Aldridge
Mar 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge (12) looks over in the second half of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

After a trade deadline which saw the Los Angeles Lakers stand pat, all eyes are now on the buyout market. The two biggest available names thus far are Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge and the Lakers seem to be in the mix for both of them.

Drummond has long been expected to sign with the Lakers and the Heat have been mentioned as a favorite for Aldridge. But according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, both players will be meeting with several contenders before making a decision on their immediate futures:

The Lakers do not have as much money to spend as some other teams. They can offer a bigger role than most while LeBron James and Anthony Davis sit but there is a fair amount of concern about whether Drummond or Aldridge would play much in the postseason assuming both Lakers stars come back healthy.

As for their games, Drummond and Aldridge offer different skillsets. Drummond, just bought out by the Cavaliers, operates closer to the rim, is statistically one of the greatest rebounders of all time, and is more of a high flyer in finishing around the rim. Aldridge operates further out, has long been an established midrange shooter and can occasionally space out the floor to the 3-point line. He’s also a solid post up player which can be a decent offensive option for a Lakers team that seemingly goes through an extended stretch of not scoring the ball every game. Both are decent passers for big men, neither are great defenders.

The Lakers may feel like they need to sign one of these players after coming up with nothing at the deadline. But as we learned last year, it’s not always the biggest name in the buyout market that has the biggest impact. The Lakers struck out on a lot of potential candidates but the one they got, Markieff Morris, managed to have a huge impact in the postseason, particularly in the series against the Rockets.

Ultimately, in my opinion, this comes down to the Lakers confidence in Davis coming back healthy and playing at his All-NBA level. If he does, the need for another center is minimal; Davis will play significant minutes there while Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell can take the few remaining minutes. That’s not to mention a player like Morris who, in the right matchup, can offer spot minutes to create small-ball lineups. In this instance, using the remaining two roster spots to get some solid wing defenders or shooters could be a better use of the Lakers’ resources.

But, if the Lakers truly have a concern that Davis cannot play as a top-five player on the NBA like he did all of last playoffs, then getting someone like Drummond or Aldridge, despite their flaws, can be crucial. Perhaps, even keeping them away from their rival contenders in order to establish more of a size advantage over them can be enough of an incentive for Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ front office.

That said, it sure seems like the Lakers are interested in these options and that the ultimate decision will fall on Drummond and Aldridge regarding where they choose to play.

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