The Clippers currently have 13 players under full NBA contracts after trading Mfiondu Kabengele, so by the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, they’ll have to add another player to their roster soon. That could be as simple as converting Amir Coffey from a two-way, but the need for that is less pressing since two-ways are allowed to compete in the postseason this year.
Therefore, LA is most likely on the market for a new player, whether that comes via trade or buyout. Given their limited assets available for a trade, the latter option seems more likely. In that vein, on the “Woj & Lowe: Trade Deadline Special” on ESPN earlier today, Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned that the Clippers are looking at Andre Drummond, who is expected to be bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, to fill out their roster. Per Woj, “Both Los Angeles teams — the Lakers, the Clippers — are expected to have great interest.”
Drummond hasn’t played for Cleveland since Feb. 12 with the Cavaliers prioritizing Jarrett Allen at their center position, but he is a two-time All-Star and historically great rebounder. He’s only 27 years old, too, so there isn’t a concern about his durability or quality of play dropping off. Another point in his favor is that Drummond’s nickname on Basketball Reference is “Big Penguin”, which is delightful.
The Clippers don’t need a center as presently constructed with Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac. Furthermore, Patrick Patterson has shown the ability to play the 5 in limited situations, and Marcus Morris Sr. can also slot over in small lineups. However, should the roster composition of the Clippers change in the coming days, and it’s worth keeping in mind that Zubac is far and away the team’s best asset, then Drummond could fill in a hole at the center position.
If Drummond wants to come to Los Angeles, the Lakers can probably offer him a starting role, while the Clippers can pay him more money (about $2.6 million) since they cleared some salary underneath the hard cap with the Kabengele trade. Woj said that the Nets, Celtics, and Mavericks are also interested in Drummond, and the Nets can offer him the highest salary, up to $5.7 million with their disabled player exception. It’s unclear how many minutes Drummond would get in Brooklyn, however, given the presence of DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, and Nic Claxton.
For what it’s worth, the Clippers currently have three of Drummond’s former Detroit teammates on their roster: Morris, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard. Perhaps their presence could be enough incentive for Drummond to join the Clippers if and when his time in Cleveland comes to an end.