The celebrated signing of Andre Drummond by the Los Angeles Lakers amounted to essentially nothing in the grand scheme of the 2020-21 season. Drummond joined the purple and gold after he was finally bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers and went to the playoffs for only the third time in his nine-year career. It did not go super well; Drummond averaged nine points and 11 rebounds but couldn't do anything to stop Deandre Ayton and received a DNP in the final game of the Suns series.
Los Angeles was very excited to bring Drummond into the fold back in March and Frank Vogel said to reporters the organization hoped he would remain a Laker for a long time, envisioning him as a key piece in the short- and long-term. Since the season has ended, though, we've heard nothing about the Lakers' intentions with the free-agent-to-be. Given how tight the cap situation will be as long as LeBron James and Anthony Davis are on the team, it stands to reason that the Lakers are going to think very carefully about if they want to invest in Drummond long-term.
The man himself has remained active on social media throughout the playoffs, though. Last night during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Drummond announced new merchandise he'd be releasing that suggests he could be leaving the Lakers.
To quickly catch you up, Drummond is not comparing himself to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar apropos of nothing. When he signed with the Lakers, owner Jeanie Buss posted an Instagram photo comparing the two and it became a running storyline for the rest of the year. Drummond is attempting to capitalize financially.
In the process, however, we can absolutely read into the "Farewell" aspects of the shirt. And it's pretty straightforward. Drummond is saying farewell to the Lakers. It would not be a surprise by any measure if he went elsewhere, too. He's only 27 years-old and certainly has his flaws but is worth more than the veteran minimum he was paid to play for Los Angeles in 2021. The Lakers aren't exactly flush with cap space and don't have his Bird Rights so they can't go over the cap to sign him. If Drummond wants a contract worth more than the mid-level exception of about $5 million a year, he'll go somewhere else.
The Lakers won't be too sad about that is my guess. Drummond can vacuum up rebounds like few other players in the league but that is, quite literally, the only thing he does at an above-average level on a basketball court. He's a bad defender, can't score in the pick-and-roll, and is a certified disaster in isolation situations. Lakers fans saw that first-hand when he was forced into a larger role due to the Davis injury in the postseason.
Some team in dire need of frontcourt depth, like the Hornets, will probably give Drummond a decently-sized contract. The Lakers cannot and probably will not match it. Thus, Drummond bids adieu to the team in the form of these shirts.