LOS ANGELES – Andre Drummond will make his Lakers debut against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, replacing Marc Gasol in the middle, coach Frank Vogel said.
“I think the excitement for me is higher than ever,” Drummond told reporters Tuesday over a videoconference call after his first full training with the team since negotiating terms over the weekend.
It will be Drummond’s first game promotion since February 12th. After that, the Cleveland Cavaliers took him off line when they tried to find a trading partner to move the nine-year veterans center.
While Drummond described the long layoff as “crazy,” he sounded confident about where his stamina was after his first training session in Los Angeles.
“I felt amazing,” he said. “I wasn’t upset.”
Drummond told the Mason & Ireland Show on ESPN 710 Los Angeles on Monday that he had “lost about 10-15 pounds” while he was away from court, adding, “Right now I’m probably in the best shape I have been can. “
Drummond’s addition to the launch unit challenges Gasol’s role. Montrezl Harrell already occupies the backup center position and has been one of the Lakers’ most consistent players. He scored an average of 15.2 points at 63.8% and 6.8 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game.
Gasol, who signed a two-year off-season deal with LA after the Lakers sold JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard joined the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent, had a difficult first season with purples and golds.
Petrol is averaging career lows at points (4.8), rebounds (3.9), and field goal percentages (40.4%) and has recently dealt with COVID-19 which resulted in him playing nine games in a row missed.
“Marc was struggling with health and safety protocols and a few other things,” Vogel said. “He’s loved here. These guys respect him so much. He was a real professional at handling it. We’ll hopefully need all three of our centers during this playoff push, this championship run. And he’s a real professional.”
Vogel said he had no discussions with the 13-year-old veteran about a possible buyout.
Drummond, 27, will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season, and Vogel said the franchise intends to re-sign him.
“We certainly hope so,” said Vogel. “Summer is going to play out and we’ll let it happen if it happens. But we want him to help us with this championship run this season, but we hope he’ll be a Laker for a long time. That’s something.” We envision that he will be a key piece for us in both the short and long term. “
Perhaps Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss posted a series of photos on her Instagram account Monday of her late father, Dr. Jerry Buss, you can see the moment.
“Man, it’s an honor,” said Drummond when asked if he would like to continue the line of Lakers All-Star Centers. “It’s an honor to be at this facility and to step into the place where these legends have played and built such an incredible legacy here in LA. So it’s great excitement for me to be here.”