Andre Drummond

Free Agency Notes: Portis, Forbes, Cap Room, Dinwiddie

Bucks rotation players Bobby Portis ($3.8MM) and Bryn Forbes ($2.4MM) both have player options for the 2021/22 season, but are expected to turn down them in search of new contracts, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on his latest podcast with Yossi Gozlan. Since Milwaukee only has Non-Bird rights on both Portis and Forbes, it’ll be a challenge to bring them back, Gozlan notes.

Scotto and Gozlan discussed a handful of other free agency situations on the HoopsHype Podcast, examining the likelihood of P.J. Tucker returning to the Bucks, exploring whether Kyle Lowry is a realistic target for the Pelicans, and suggesting that the Hornets may be in the market for multiple centers – rather than just one – on the free agent market.

Here are a few more items related to the NBA’s upcoming free agent period:

Free Agent Stock Watch: Western Conference

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players from the Western Conference:

Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021

Drummond had a golden opportunity to show he could perform in the biggest moments. He was reportedly promised a starting spot by the Lakers after he reached a buyout agreement with Cleveland and cleared waivers. Drummond withered in the spotlight and was benched for Game 6 of the first-round series with Phoenix.

Coach Frank Vogel lavished praise on Drummond after the season, saying “We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time.” That seems like a long shot, considering how the postseason played out.

The two-time All-Star is still only 27 but his status has fallen dramatically over the past two seasons. He might be fortunate to receive the mid-level from a team seeking an elite rebounder.

Serge Ibaka, Clippers, 31, PF/C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $19MM deal in 2020

Ibaka said last month he’s been dealing with back pain all season caused by a pinched nerve. It continued to hamper him to the point where he underwent back surgery on Thursday. He only appeared in 41 games during the regular season and had been limited to two postseason games.

Several contenders were interested in Ibaka during free agency last year due to his postseason track record. He was considered the Clippers’ most important addition during the offseason but now they’ll have to strive for a championship without one of their top frontcourt players. Ibaka holds a $9.72MM option on his contract for next season and it’s a safe bet he’ll take the guaranteed money.

Langston Galloway, Suns, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2020

Galloway signed a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum to join an improving team seeking a second-unit shooter. He was Detroit’s top reserve a season ago but the opportunities haven’t been there in Phoenix. He only saw action in 40 games during the regular season and has made two cameos in the playoffs. The Suns have gone with a three-man rotation in the backcourt – Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Cameron Payne – rendering Galloway as a spectator. Galloway will likely have to settle for a similar contract next season from a team that promises to give him more playing time.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Mavericks, 29, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $71MM deal in 2017

The Mavericks need to improve their supporting cast around Luka Doncic but they don’t want to lose Hardaway. Despite his Game 7 clunker (11 points, 1-for-9 on threes), Hardaway and Dorian Finney-Smith were the team’s most impactful players besides Doncic during the first-round series against the Clippers.

The Mavericks have made re-signing Hardaway a high priority. They’ll have some competition for his services and they to be cognizant of weighing down their future cap with enigmatic Kristaps Porzingis on the books for three more seasons (including a player option). But Hardaway is in a good spot to get another lucrative multiyear deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Collins, Ibaka, George, Caruso, Drummond

The Warriors and assistant coach Jarron Collins have mutually agreed to part ways with Collins setting his sights on a head coaching job, Marc J. Spears of ESPN reports. Head coach Steve Kerr indicated last week that there would be changes on his staff.

Collins, 42, joined the Warriors staff prior to the 2014/15 season as a player-development coach and was promoted to assistant coach the following season. He’s been in charge of the defense the last two seasons.

“For me, this is about taking the next journey and next step in my career,” he told Spears. Collins has interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Bulls, Grizzlies and Hawks in recent years.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Serge Ibaka has been listed as doubtful to play in Game 1 against Utah on Tuesday and he didn’t even travel with the Clippers to Salt Lake City, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. Ibaka, who has battled a back injury during the second half of the season, played only 19 minutes in the first round.
  • The Clippers needed seven games to get out of the first round and Paul George won’t mind doing the same against the Jazz as long as his team prevails, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. “It’s a marathon,” he said. “We’re not worried about how long it takes to get to what we want to get to. We’ve just got to get it done. We’ve got to be the best team in any seven-game series, that’s just what it comes down to. It’s not going to be easy, and I think (Dallas) did a great job of reiterating that, that this isn’t going to be easy.”
  • Re-signing Alex Caruso will be a high priority for the Lakers, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The unrestricted free agent could receive a contract in the $12-$13MM per season range, Buha anticipates. It’s unlikely Andre Drummond will be back unless he accepts the veteran’s minimum or one of the team’s exceptions, in Buha’s estimation. The Athletic writer takes a look at all the team’s free agents in the story.

Lakers Notes: Drummond, Vogel, Davis, James, Gasol

Outside of his rebounding totals (11.0 per game), Andre Drummond wasn’t much of a factor in the first-round series against the Suns. He was even taken out of the lineup for Game 6, but Lakers coach Frank Vogel is hopeful the unrestricted free agent will re-sign with the team, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

“‘Dre was great for us,” Vogel said. “We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time. He really played well for us and was a good culture fit.”

GM Rob Pelinka, Drummond’s one-time agent, said that signing the veteran center after he cleared waivers was something he’d “do again and again,” Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. Pelinka added, “We’re proud of some of the big games and big moments he had,” but didn’t make any pledges about trying to bring him back.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Vogel didn’t want to comment about the possibility of getting a contract extension, but confirmed he’s entering the last year of his deal, Goon adds in another tweet. Vogel was hired on a three-year contract in 2019. “Obviously I love it here,” he said. “I love this organization, and I hope to be a Laker for life.”
  • Some of Anthony Davis‘ teammates tried to talk him out of playing in Game 6 but Davis ultimately decided to give it a try, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. AD lasted a little over five minutes before being sidelined by a groin injury. “I knew the only way I was going to be healthy enough to play was to get some rest, but time wasn’t on my side,” he said. “So, I tried to give it a go. I don’t regret anything.” A lingering high ankle sprain prevented LeBron James routinely attacking the paint, Haynes added, with estimations that James was about 85% health-wise for the series.
  • Marc Gasol knew his role would be diminished after Drummond was signed but family reasons helped convince him to remain on the roster, rather than pursuing a buyout, Goon tweets. His family had settled into the Los Angeles area and he didn’t want to uproot them.

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Schröder, Free Agents

Although Lakers big man Anthony Davis was cleared to return for Game 6 vs. Phoenix, he clearly wasn’t himself on Thursday night, leaving the game for good midway through the first quarter due to his strained groin. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Davis’ injury didn’t get any worse on Thursday, but his pain intensified whenever his mobility was tested.

It never really felt good, but the competitive nature in me wanted to go out there and help the team as best as I could,” Davis said following the loss that ended the Lakers’ season (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today). “My body didn’t agree.”

The Lakers’ loss on Thursday ended a season of “what ifs” for the franchise, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. After flying out of the gates to a 21-6 start, the team dealt with lengthy injury absences to its two stars (Davis and LeBron James), while other key players were affected by COVID-19 (Marc Gasol and Dennis Schröder). Los Angeles never regained its early-season momentum. After winning 21 of its first 27 games, the club won just 21 of its next 45 to finish the regular season, then was eliminated in short order in the playoffs.

It was the first time in LeBron’s 18-year career that he has been knocked out in the first round of the postseason, and while the four-time MVP was disappointed with the loss, he’s looking forward to taking full advantage of a longer offseason. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), James suggested after Thursday’s game that he won’t participate in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Dennis Schröder reportedly turned down a four-year extension worth over $80MM earlier this year, but he said on Thursday that his desire to remain with the Lakers remains strong and is “not even a question,” as Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times details. “It wasn’t about money, because everybody who knows me, it’s not about money either,” he said. “Of course, you want to be fair. But at the end of the day, not everything is about money — for me and my family. At the end of the day, if everything is good, we gonna come back and win a championship next year.”
  • Sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that some people in the organization were frustrated by Schröder’s play on the court this season, prompting the team to include him in trade talks for Kyle Lowry at March’s deadline.
  • The Lakers will have to determine which players are their top priorities in free agency, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), who notes that Schröder is just one of several rotation players up for a new contract. Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Andre Drummond, and Markieff Morris are among those headed for unrestricted free agency, and Montrezl Harrell could join them by declining his $9.7MM player option.
  • The Lakers need to upgrade their supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this offseason, but don’t have a ton of tools at their disposal to do so, says John Hollinger of The Athletic. The club projects to be over the cap and has already traded multiple future first-round picks.
  • Asked after Thursday’s loss about his history of injuries, Davis replied, “I don’t need to prove anything to anyone that’s outside this Lakers organization,” per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. However, Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times argues that Davis’ health and James’ age are growing concerns for the franchise.

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Caldwell-Pope, Drummond

Anthony Davis told reporters he’s feeling better today, but the decision on whether he plays in Thursday’s Game 6 will be made by the Lakers‘ medical staff, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Davis was held out of Game 5 with a left groin strain, and L.A. wasn’t able to stay close without him, falling behind by 30 points at halftime.

Davis said the groin injury was a result of overcompensating for a hyperextended left knee that he suffered in Game 3. He is averaging 21.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in four games, but L.A. has been ineffective when he hasn’t been on the court.

Davis had been hoping to play in Game 5, but determined during a second warm-up session that he wasn’t able to go, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Davis said he went through 20 minutes of shooting and the injury still felt the same.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel replied, “We’ll see,” when asked about Davis’ chances of returning for Game 6, saying it will be a game-time decision (Twitter link from McMenamin). “He’s doing everything he can to get back out there,” Vogel said.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • LeBron James cautioned Davis against trying to return too soon, according to Chris Haynes of The Athletic. James had a similar injury during the 2018/19 season that kept him out for several weeks.
  • Vogel also expects Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to be a game-time decision on Thursday night, Rankin adds (via Twitter). Caldwell-Pope returned in Game 5 after missing Game 4 with a sore left knee, but he played just 15 minutes in the lopsided loss. He said the knee tightened up in the second half and affected his ability to move.
  • The Lakers appear determined to keep Andre Drummond beyond this season, McMenamin said this week on Zach Lowe’s podcast (hat tip to Brad Sullivan of Lakers Daily). Drummond was widely considered to be a rental when he signed with L.A. in late March after a buyout with the Cavaliers, but L.A. reportedly believes the 27-year-old center is worth a long-term investment. He’s rumored to be seeking a max deal in free agency this summer, so he would have to significantly scale back those demands for a deal with the Lakers to be realistic. Marc Gasol is the only center L.A. has under contract for next season, although Montrezl Harrell has a $9.72MM player option.

L.A. Notes: Clippers, Davis, Schröder, Drummond

The Clippers insist they’re not worried about their current predicament, even though they’re halfway to a first-round loss that could be franchise altering, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Calmness was the message repeated by players and coaches after dropping two games to Dallas on their home court.

“No worries,” guard Reggie Jackson said today in a Zoom session with reporters, echoing the sentiments of his coach, Tyronn Lue, who stated, “I’m not concerned.” Although the Clippers remain confident, they may be stuck with a bad matchup. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George having to supply so much of the team’s offense, it’s difficult for them to also guard Luka Doncic, who is averaging 35.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 9.0 assists in the first two games of the series.

“They feed off it tremendously,” Jackson said. “When (Doncic) looks like he’s having fun, they’re all cool, calm and collected. We’ve got to figure out a way to rattle him, rattle the head of the snake first and then let everybody else kind of get rattled as well.”

There’s more from L.A.:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic considers possible steps that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer might take if the team is eliminated in the first round. Those could include front office changes, trying to trade for a rim protector or possibly dealing George. The team also faces the prospect of losing Leonard, who is expected to opt out of his contract this summer.
  • After a disappointing Game 1 performance, the LakersAnthony Davis made a statement with 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in the Game 2 win over the Suns. Davis’ outburst began with a spirited practice session Monday, according to Chris Haynes of The Athletic. “We knew AD was locked in and we expected this performance,” Jared Dudley said. “You could see it in him these last few days.”
  • The Lakers also got a lift from Dennis Schröder and Andre Drummond, who will both be free agents this summer, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Schroder poured in 24 points, while Drummond contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds. “Dennis was in attack mode from the very beginning,” LeBron James said. “…  And I thought big Dre was amazing in the minutes he had. … He was just very decisive with his play tonight and I think it’s his sixth playoff game, maybe six or seven, that he’s had in his career, so he’s going to continue to get better and better.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, Drummond, Gasol, LeBron

Anthony Davis‘ subpar game in the Lakers’ playoff opener may be linked to a lineup problem, suggests Zach Kram of The Ringer. Davis is known to be more comfortable at power forward than center, but playing alongside Andre Drummond is making him less effective, according to Kram.

Davis managed just 13 points in the Game 1 loss and shot 31% from the field, his career low for a playoff game. Kram notes that Davis played more than half his minutes at center in last year’s postseason and has been more productive at that position this season because it enables to get better shots.

The numbers since Drummond signed with the Lakers in late March are particularly bad, Kram adds. Starting lineups with Davis and Drummond were outscored by 3.5 points per 100 possessions during the regular season. Drummond’s presence forces Davis farther away from the basket, leaving him with midrange shots, where he is less efficient. Kram points out that the Suns were able to exploit spacing issues when Drummond was on the court in Game 1.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Bill Oram of The Athletic also examines L.A.’s frontcourt situation and states that backup center Montrezl Harrell presents the same issues as Drummond. Marc Gasol, who was signed during the offseason to be a floor-spacing center, didn’t play in Game 1 and neither did Markieff Morris, who solved a similar problem against the Rockets in last year’s playoffs. “I think with the lineups, with the big lineup, we just didn’t have enough time to work on it (during the regular season),” Drummond said. “So it’s something we’re just kind of throwing out there with little time and little experience. I think we’re doing a good job of figuring it out on the fly.”
  • LeBron James is obviously feeling the effects of his high-ankle sprain, writes Ethan Strauss of The Athletic, who contends the Suns should probably be considered favorites to win the series. Strauss points out that James hasn’t dunked since re-aggravating the ankle in the third quarter of the regular season finale.
  • The NBA has issued a statement (via Twitter) explaining why James didn’t have to quarantine after violating health and safety protocols this week. The league determined that James’ appearance an event promoting his tequila brand “did not create risks related to the spread of COVID-19 and therefore no quarantine was necessary.”

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Young, Capela, Shooting

After starting the season with a 14-20 record, the Hawks have gone 22-10 since Nate McMillan took over as the team’s head coach. The role McMillan has played in turning around Atlanta’s season hasn’t been lost on leading scorer Trae Young, who appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj Pod this week and praised the Hawks’ head coach for “connecting with the players.”

Asked about McMillan’s potential future with the team, Young said he’d be surprised if the interim coach isn’t retained beyond 2020/21.

“I couldn’t see a scenario where he’s not back with us,” Young said. “The way we’re winning right now. If we go into the playoffs and do really well, it’s hard to see him not back next year. At the end of the day it’s not up to me, but as a player, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be back.”

While Young is right that the decision won’t ultimately be up to him, Hawks management will likely take the All-Star guard’s opinion into account when they determine what’s next for McMillan, who looks like a pretty safe bet to have his interim label removed.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • In an in-depth profile, Zach Lowe of ESPN examines the growth of Hawks center Clint Capela, who has gone from a rookie the Rockets initially viewed as a draft-and-stash prospect to the anchor of Atlanta’s defense and a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
  • Within his story on Capela, Lowe cites sources who say the Hawks discussed the possibility of trading for Andre Drummond and Steven Adams before ultimately acquiring Capela from Houston a year ago. Atlanta believed that elements of Capela’s pick-and-roll game with James Harden would work for Trae Young, Lowe notes.
  • After finishing dead-last in three-point percentage a year ago, the Hawks prioritized shooting in the offseason when they signed Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari to lucrative multiyear deals, and those moves have helped make the Hawks a playoff team, writes Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bogdanovic (42.0% on threes) and Gallinari (41.6%) have been two of the club’s most reliable marksmen in 2020/21.

Pacific Notes: Drummond, Metu, Bagley, Curry

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond played together for the first time as teammates on Friday night in the Lakers‘ loss at home to the Kings.

Drummond, who signed a free-agent deal to join the team in March, had yet to play with the superstar duo together as James and Davis recovered from injuries. The 28-year-old finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and 24 minutes in the losing effort against Sacramento.

“He makes the game very easy for everybody,” Drummond said after his first game with James, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. “I feel like he sees everything. He’s like a quarterback, so having him out there’s been really fun — my first game being on the same side as him. It’s definitely been a great learning experience for me, I’m looking forward to being on the court with him more to do better things.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division today:

  • Kings center Chimezie Metu underwent an X-ray on his lower back that came back clean on Friday, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento tweets. Metu is experiencing back soreness after sustaining a hard fall in the contest. He left in the second quarter and didn’t return.
  • Marvin Bagley III‘s recent time away from the Kings was something that he and the team both agreed upon, Jason Jones of The Athletic tweets. Bagley, who returned on Friday after missing 23 games due to a fractured left hand, told reporters that his absence wasn’t a vacation and said that both sides felt it was best.
  • Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is continuing to accelerate his team’s timeline, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic writes. Curry has put forth an MVP-caliber season despite Golden State owning just a 31-32 record, averaging a career-high 31.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.