The voracity of two of the reference teams this season in the NBA has been fully exposed in the movement of players in the last week. The Brooklyn Nets and the Angels Lakers have completed two rosters full of glittering names with the addition of two veteran centers of proven rank. As if it were a dispatch final, the Nets tied the knot with LaMarcus Aldridge on Saturday and the Lakers responded by hiring Andre Drummond on Sunday. The two had been released after terminating contracts with their previous teams: Aldridge, a 35-year-old center, 2.11 meters and seven times all star, with the San Antonio Spurs; Drummond, 27-year-old center, 2.08 meters and two times all star, with Cleveland Cavaliers. The two add to the impressive roster of stars of two teams that already had an inside game with big names.
The closing of the transfer market – the exchange of players in the NBA because transfers are not paid there – had already been frantic on Thursday. The team changes affected names so important that they could be franchise players, such as Serbian center Nikola Vucevic in Orlando, now in Chicago; or Victor Oladipo in Houston, now in Miami.
The moves have affected many of the favorites. To the champions, the Lakers, the boosted Nets, and also Miami, a finalist last season, and Denver and Celtics, conference finalists, in addition to the Clippers. The relationship of forces can change decisively depending on how new parts are adapted and lost personnel are replaced.
Marc Gasol will be one of those affected by the arrival of Drummond to the Lakers. The Spanish pivot, who reappeared on Thursday after missing nine games due to covid, averages the worst numbers of his career: 4.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, two assists and 20 minutes. He has started but has always played less than his relief, Montrezl Harrell, who is justifying the Best Sixth Man in the League award he received last season with the Clippers. Anthony Davis is the great reference in the interior game of the Lakers, although he suffers an Achilles tendon injury that has kept him inactive since February 14. The arrival of Drummond could displace even Marc Gasol from the starting five. The New York center is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season in the 25 games he played in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers bet on promoting Jarrett Allen, who came to the team in January from the Nets after the four-cushion trade that brought James Harden to the Brooklyn team. The prominence of Allen, a 22-year-old center, relegated Drummond to the substitution, who, according to the Cavaliers, has no longer played since he left on February 12, while a way out was sought. “Drummond gives us powerful, anchoring skills at both ends of the court,” says Rob Pelinka, Lakers director of athletics.
The arrival of Aldridge to the Nets, second in the Eastern Conference, redoubles their objective of conquering a title that they only achieved, with Julius Erving as a star, in 1974 and 1976, in the ABA, a professional league that was played in parallel to the NBA . Team owner Joe Tsai and athletic director Sean Marks have built a brilliant roster. In January they signed James Harden, in a team that already included Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
The relationship is impressive and this is demonstrated by the count of times they have been all star each of these players: 11 Kevin Durant, nine Harden, seven Irving and Aldridge, six Blake Griffin, signed on March 8 from Detroit, and one DeAndre Jordan. In total, there are 41 teams all star, the most accumulated by a team since the Miami Heat of the 2013-2014 season, with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen. Only the Celtics, with the 56 selections for the all-star game that their members accumulated in the 2010-2011 season, and the 43 from a season later, have surpassed the 41 of the Nets.