The Los Angeles Lakers came into the NBA playoffs as Western Conference favorites on WynnBET, but they were unable to get past the Phoenix Suns in the first round .
The 2020 NBA champs will have a lot to look at this offseason as they try to build a better roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but it’s unlikely that Andre Drummond will be one of the solutions.
Drummond, who signed with the Lakers after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, reportedly isn’t expected to be back with the team unless he agrees to a veteran minimum deal.
“Drummond is an archaic archetype, one that doesn’t translate well to the postseason as a starter,” The Athletic’s Jovan Buha wrote. “The Lakers pumped him up all season only to bench him in their biggest game of the season. His future is somewhat tied to [Marc] Gasol and [Montrezl] Harrell, both of whom will be covered below. But unless he’s willing to accept a veteran minimum offer, or one of the Lakers’ available exceptions, depending on who they renounce and re-sign, Drummond will likely be elsewhere on opening night 2021.”
Harrell has a player option for the 2021-22 season, while Gasol is still under contract but could be traded. The Lakers have struggled to find a center that complements Davis, and they may be better off with him at the five as a long-term solution.
Still, with Davis’ injury history, the Lakers will need a center to replace Drummond for depth purposes and potentially to slide into the starting role.
Here are three options that could make sense in free agency for Los Angeles:
The Lakers had to trade McGee in order to bring in Gasol last season, but it may have been a mistake.
McGee, who was a key piece at center for the Lakers on their title run, is now with the Denver Nuggets but he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
If the Lakers want a low-cost signing that they know can fit into their rotation, McGee makes a ton of sense with his finishing ability and shot-blocking prowess.
A better defender than Drummond, McGee doesn’t command nearly as many touches and likely won’t demand that he play starters minutes. If he’s open to a return, this seems like a no brainer for the Lakers.
It’s hard to find a better defensive center than Noel. He had a fantastic season for the New York Knicks, and he stepped into the starting lineup when Mitchell Robinson went down with multiple injuries this season.
Noel averaged 2.2 blocks per game in the 2020-21 campaign, and while he doesn’t stretch the floor, he certainly would help the Lakers maintain their league-best defense.
Noel shot 48.9 percent from 3-to-10 feet away this season, which could prove useful if the Lakers want to use Davis in the deep post more often.
Given his ability to play off the bench and start, Noel would be a solid fit, the only question will be if the Lakers will be able to outbid teams for him in the free-agent market.
This one may seem a little out there, but Dedmon was solid for the Miami Heat over the final stretch of the 2020-21 season.
The veteran big man averaged 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 16 games with the Heat while shooting 70.8 percent from the field.
Dedmon is a better shooter than both Noel and McGee (he shot 38.2 percent from 3 in the 2018-19 season), but he doesn’t have the shot-blocking prowess that the other two options possess.
If the Lakers want a guy who will stretch the floor on the veteran minimum, Dedmon may be just that.
However, if they want to go for a rim protector, there are definitely better options out there.