Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players from the Western Conference:
Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021
Drummond had a golden opportunity to show he could perform in the biggest moments. He was reportedly promised a starting spot by the Lakers after he reached a buyout agreement with Cleveland and cleared waivers. Drummond withered in the spotlight and was benched for Game 6 of the first-round series with Phoenix. Coach Frank Vogel lavished praise on Drummond after the season, saying “We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time.” That seems like a longshot, considering how the postseason played out. The two-time All-Star is still only 27 but his status has fallen dramatically over the past two seasons. He might be fortunate to receive the mid-level from a team seeking an elite rebounder.
Serge Ibaka, Clippers, 31, PF/C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $19MM deal in 2020
Ibaka said last month he’s been dealing with back pain all season caused by a pinched nerve. It continued to hamper him to the point where underwent back surgery on Thursday. He only appeared in 41 games during the regular season and had been limited to two postseason games. Several contenders were interested in Ibaka during free agency last year due to his postseason track record.