The Lakers are in the market for frontcourt help and have some interest in a reunion with free agent center DeMarcus Cousins, league sources Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. However, according to O’Connor, Los Angeles’ preference would be to sign Andre Drummond if he receives a buyout from the Cavaliers.
Marc Stein of The New York Times adds (via Twitter) that the Lakers are optimistic they’ll receive “strong consideration” from Drummond if he reaches the free agent market.
In order for the Lakers to get a shot at the 27-year-old, they’ll need the Cavaliers to accept that there are no Drummond trades out there worth making. Cleveland has thus far been unwilling to concede that point — Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported last week that the Cavs’ front office still believes it will be able to move him, even though others around the league are skeptical.
Drummond’s $28.75MM cap hit is the biggest impediment to a trade, since it will be a challenge for most teams to match that salary without giving up a more valuable rotation player. When Drummond was traded from Detroit to Cleveland a year ago, the Cavs gave up a pair of non-rotation players on expiring contracts, plus a distant second-round pick.
The Nets have been viewed as the most logical fit for Drummond if he receives a buyout, but if Blake Griffin plays well in Brooklyn, the team might not feel the same urgency to further address its frontcourt, which could open the door for the Lakers or another team to sign Drummond. Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell are L.A.’s centers, while Anthony Davis will also be in the mix later in the year once he gets healthy.
If the Lakers can’t land Drummond, Cousins could be an appealing option, assuming he hasn’t already signed with another team. Cousins joined the Lakers for the 2019/20 season but ended up not playing at all for the team after tearing his ACL — he still spent much of the season on the roster and was said to be a good locker-room presence.