The deal will bring together Drummond, a two-time All-Star who has led the NBA in rebounding four times in his career, and 76ers superstar big man Joel Embiid. Drummond and Embiid have been playing each other for many years, often against each other during their time together in the Eastern Conference. Drummond was with the Detroit Pistons.
Embiid got Drummond ejected from the fourth quarter of a game in 2018 with a flop after Drummond's arm came up near his head, and then called Drummond a "bum" in a tweet a few weeks later.
Drummond's view was that this turned into a swap with the Sixers and Lakers for backup centers. Dwight Howard, Embiid’s understudy last season, had returned to Los Angeles to join the Lakers on a Monday night during the opening hours free agency.
Drummond signed with the Lakers just months ago, as the largest-name player on the buyout market. The fit, however, became more complicated over time, with Drummond's star in Los Angeles eventually dimming to the point that he was left on the sideline for the final game of the Lakers' season, Game 6 of their first-round series with the Phoenix Suns, in which he was a DNP-CD to cap off his short and rocky stint in Los Angeles.
Drummond averaged 11.9 and 10.2 points in 21 regular-season Lakers games. Coach Frank Vogel repeated his belief that Drummond would be L.A.’s long-term future next to Anthony Davis. However, Marc Gasol seemed to make the team run more smoothly.
The position was also in chaos with Montrezl Harrell, who was traded to Washington Wizards as a trade for Russell Westbrook, also playing the 5.
Rob Pelinka (Lakers vice president of basketball operations, general manager) expressed regret about signing Drummond after the season was over.
Pelinka stated, "His ability rebound the ball and protect it from the rim and give me athleticism in the paint was an important ingredient to the team and something we would do again."
The Sixers hope those skills will allow them to play behind Embiid, who has been a perennial sore spot in Philadelphia for the past few seasons. The Sixers have had a rotating cast of characters at the backup 5 in recent years, including Greg Monroe, Al Horford and Howard. Drummond is now the latest and most unlikely person to attempt to fill this position.
Philadelphia opened the offseason with Furkan Korkmaz being signed to a three year, $15 million contract. Later, George Hill was released. Hill's contract was not guaranteed for the 2021-22 season. Veteran guard Danny Green remains unsigned and is one of the biggest names still left on the market after many of the rest went off the board quickly in the opening 18 hours of free agency.