Lakers add center Andre Drummond for postseason push

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FILE - In this Feb 5, 2021, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Andre Drummond drives the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Cleveland. Drummond is now a free agent and can sign with a contending team after reaching a buyout with the Cavaliers. Drummond, who has not played since mid-February, began negotiating terms of the buyout with the Cavs on Thursday, March 25, 2021, after the club could not trade the 27-year-old. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

LOS ANGELES – Andre Drummond is joining the Los Angeles Lakers for the playoff push.

The Lakers announced the signing of the two-time All-Star center less than an hour before Sunday night's game against the Orlando Magic. Drummond announced his decision with a post on his Instagram account earlier in the day, writing “Back to work” underneath an illustration of himself in a Lakers uniform.

Drummond agreed to a buyout Friday from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who acquired the four-time NBA rebounding champion last year after nearly eight seasons in Detroit. He had to clear waivers before he could join a team of his choosing, and Drummond chose to link up with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the defending NBA champions.

“We’re all thrilled. He’s one of the best centers in the league and someone every defensive coordinator is going to have to account for while trying to slow down LeBron, AD and our guards when we get going," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after Sunday's 96-93 victory over the Magic. “He can dominate on both sides and his physicality is something they have to account for.”

Vogel said he wasn't sure if Drummond would be available for the Lakers' next game, which is Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Drummond is almost certain to get his first significant NBA postseason playing time with the Lakers after appearing in only eight playoff games — and losing all eight — in two postseason trips with the Pistons.

When Drummond gets up to playing speed after sitting out the past six weeks, the two-time All-Star Game selection should be a notable upgrade at center for Los Angeles, which won a competition with several contenders for his services over the weekend.

Veteran Marc Gasol played inconsistently for the Lakers even before he returned recently from a 3 1/2-week bout with coronavirus, while 6-foot-8 Montrezl Harrell is undersized for the biggest defensive assignments in the middle.