September 21, 2023

76ers agree to sign former-enemy big man to 1-year deal


Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News

The 76ers have agreed to sign a Los Angeles Lakers big man for a second consecutive year in free agency. This one happens to have a bit of a rivalry with Joel Embiid.

Andre Drummond and the Sixers have agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.

The 27-year-old Drummond is a two-time All-Star and the Sixers will be his fourth NBA team. Like Dwight Howard, who’s set to leave the Sixers and join the Lakers again, Drummond is an excellent rebounder. He’s led the league in that category four times.

Like Howard, Drummond is also limited. For his NBA career, he’s a 47% foul shooter, although he’s improved slightly in recent seasons. Drummond rarely attempts long-range jumpers and is not especially flexible as a defender.

Drummond and Embiid have been involved in several contentious exchanges on and off the court, including the memorable claim by Embiid in 2018 that he “owned a lot of real estate” in Drummond’s head.

As insurance behind Embiid, Drummond is certainly qualified. Outside of his rookie season with the Pistons, the UConn product has been a full-time starter. 

As a backup center, it will be fascinating to see how Drummond fits. Howard and Ben Simmons were a poor duo — the Sixers had a minus-10.4 net rating when they shared the floor, per Cleaning the Glass — and Drummond’s deficiencies are similar to Howard’s. There’s been near-ceaseless speculation this offseason about Simmons’ future and whether the team will see fit to trade him before the 2021-22 campaign begins.

Even putting aside the Simmons question, Drummond is an old-school center and Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is widely regarded as a new-school executive. Perhaps Morey will find another frontcourt player or two with different skill sets, ensuring head coach Doc Rivers does not need to lean on Drummond in the postseason.

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