Well, we didn’t see this one coming. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported today that the Sixers will sign veteran NBA center Andre Drummond to a one-year pact:
Free agent C Andre Drummond has agreed to a one-year deal with the 76ers, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
The Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck soon reported on the financial aspect of the deal:
Andre Drummond's deal is for the minimum, per source— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) August 3, 2021
This is a surprising signing for a number of reasons. One is that, as recently as last Thursday’s draft, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey described to the media exactly what the team’s brass was looking for in a backup center. He stated his desire for Joel Embiid’s backup to either be able to shoot from three-point range, or to switch on the perimeter, defensively. Drummond, of course, can do neither.
He’s certainly an accomplished player throughout his career, leading the league in rebounding four times at only 27 years old.
The other wrinkle to this addition is Drummond’s reported relationship (or lack thereof) with Embiid. You’ll remember, Embiid was quick to dominate Drummond on the court and then troll him mercilessly on social media since the two have crossed paths. It’s now been a season or two since any notable flare-up between the two, so my guess is that things are copasetic on that front at this point.
Drummond’s signing also suggests to me another sign that Ben Simmons will be elsewhere next season. As a total non-shooter, Drummond would seem an untenable fit next to Simmons on the court, much the way the Simmons/Dwight Howard pairing led to consistently poor results.
There is obviously a long way to go in this Sixers offseason with many potential shoes to drop, but we now have our first surprise of the summer.
Stay tuned for much more to come.